On Monday, the North Shore School District initiated a precautionary lockout at the elementary schools, and a lockdown at the middle and high schools as police investigated a possible threat.
Law enforcement identified the source of the threat as a Snapchat post. A picture of a message written on a school desk circulated on the popular app, reading, “I’m going to shoot up the school on March 5, Monday, at 12:27. Save yourself. Please stop me.” Officials are currently still investigating the incident.
The post caused a wave of phone calls from school districts to police officials in both Nassau and Suffolk counties reporting the potential threat.
“It is important to know that at no point in time was there an active threat to our students or schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Peter Giarrizzo. “During these events, we are solely focused on the safety of our students and staff.”
The social media post was brought to Giarrizzo’s attention at approximately 12:15 p.m. It indicated that an act of violence was planned to occur at exactly 12:27 p.m.; however, the threat was not specific to North Shore.
The district initiated lockdown and lockout procedures. First responders from the Nassau County Police Department arrived at the middle and high schools, and a police presence was deployed at the elementary schools. The lockdowns were lifted at approximately 1 p.m. and schools resumed normal activities.
According to Giarrizzo, the Snapchat post originated in New York City sometime last week. “It was not posted by a North Shore student and the threat was not a credible one,” he added. The author of the post is currently in the custody of the New York Police Department.
“The very good news is that we learned that even in a true emergency, our students and staff are well versed in our standard protocols for these situations,” Giarrizzo said. “Most importantly, they all know what to do to keep themselves and each other safe.”
In response to the numerous threats, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder issued an official statement on Monday addressing reports of alleged school-related violence, which he said has amplified since the Parkland, Fla. shooting last month.
“I would like to assure all Nassau County residents, school personnel and students that all threats received by the police department are taken seriously until they are deemed unfounded or non-credible,” Ryder said. “Numerous investigative resources are expended during these investigations and false threats will never be tolerated.”
Ryder added that individuals found in violation of the law for making a school threat will be charged with making a terroristic threat, a D Felony punishable for up to seven years in prison.