Police increase school patrols in wake of social media threat

A number of East End schools have police officers posted outside as a result of an unconfirmed social media threat that may have originated in western Long Island and some schools are on lockout — where no one is allowed in the building without proper identification. 

“We did have an unconfirmed county-wide threat,” said Riverhead Town Police Chief David Hegermiller. “It was supposedly posted on Snapchat and it was brought to the attention of Suffolk County police.

“I was unable to confirm it, but to be on the safe side, we put extra patrols by the schools.”

He said he didn’t see the actual threat, but officials from the county had confirmed a threat had been made.

As a precaution to the non-specific threat found on social media and, ultimately, deemed non-credible by the Suffolk County Police Department, Riverhead students were kept inside the school building for lunch recess,” said Superintendent Aurelia Henriquez in a statement. “The district was not on a lockdown.”

The Riverhead district has posted a message on its website from the Suffolk County Superintendents Association regarding the social media posting.

On the North Fork, officers were posted on school grounds. “We knew of the rumor on social media, and discussed it with school personnel in our three school districts,” said Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley. “Our response was to have officers stationed on the school grounds for a defined time frame this afternoon. I am not aware of any enhanced responses such as lockouts initiated at our North Fork School districts.”

The Suffolk County School Superintendents Association said a non-specific threat began circulating on social media over the weekend and was reported to county police, according to a letter from Lars Clemensen, who is president of that group, as well as the Hampton Bays School District Superintendent.

He said the threat was investigated by county police “and it was deemed non-credible to any county school. He said the threat originated in a high school in Queens and has been resolved by the New York City police.”

St. Isidore’s School in Riverhead sent a note to parents explaining that police were putting extra patrols at schools and that all children we removed from removed from the playground and the school was put on lockout.

Lt. Susan Ralph of the Southampton Town Police said that when they heard of the threat, they took precautions and posted officers outside the high schools in the town.

She referred questions about what the specific threat was to Suffolk County police. She also said the threat was made on Snapchat.

Suffolk County police have not immediately returned a message seeking additional information.

The Southampton Press reported that the Southampton School District was the only district in that town to have a lockout.

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