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High School on Lockdown After Shooting Threat; 200 Students Absent

Superintendent Edward Ehmann says modified lockdown will still be in place next week.

Roughly 200 of the 1,700 students enrolled at were absent Friday following a discovered Thursday before dismissal. 

"As many parents would do they have apprehensions, they have fears just like any other parent would have and we respect that and we understand that," said John Coady, principal at West. 

Superintendent Edward Ehmann said Thursday that a student reported a threatening comment written in a girl’s bathroom at the school just before the 1:55 p.m. dismissal. The message, Ehmann said, stated that they were going to shoot up the school on March 9. 

Ehmann said during a Friday press conference at the school administration building on New York Avenue that other items were written on the wall besides the statement released to the public. However, Ehmann could not share the details of the entire message due to an ongoing police investigation.

During the press conference, Ehmann discussed the particulars of the lockdown in the school Friday, which included a backpack search and locked entrances and exits so students could only enter and leave where directed.

Ehmann also stated that school security searched classrooms and bathrooms - and there was a police presence in the school Friday - but no search of lockers was performed. 

Coady added that all the exterior doors with the exception of the visitor’s entrance were locked during the day, breezeways between cafeterias were also locked, and hall passes for students were limited. 

The school will continue a modified version of the current lockdown where student backpacks will continue to be searched until the school is confident there is no threat of violence, Ehmann said Friday. There will also be added security for Saturday's S.A.T. testing.

Despite the absent students both Coady and Ehmann said the day went very well Friday. 

“The mood, I thought surprisingly, was very good. I went into each cafeteria each period and I spoke to each of the tables separately, I told the kids how happy I was to see them, how everything was going ... they were able to convey they were very safe and comfortable,” Coady said.

Ehmann made it clear Friday that these types of actions would not be tolerated in the Smithtown Central School District.

"Whenever an individual trumps the educational environment to this extent we prosecute the individual to the fullest extent of the law. We'll be working in cooperation with the police … we will find the individual and punish them severely,” he said.

Ehmann ended Friday’s press conference with a message for parents and students.

“It's key that parents listen carefully to their kids and for the students to be the eyes and ears of the school district in avoiding any types of suspicious behavior on the parts of their peers so we can follow up on this information and maintain a healthy and safe environment for the community.”

SusiQ March 09, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Nothing much happened other then a high absentee rate at school today.
Christina U March 09, 2012 at 09:43 PM
There was definitely more then 200 students absent today, almost every one of my classes was missing half of the students.
George March 09, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I would like Mr. Ehmann to calculate and publicize how much this incident cost the district, including the lost state funds attributable to the absences. Then, when the culprit is found, he or she should be made to pay restitution including intererest to the district.
Annon March 09, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Yea It relly did feel like there was wayy more than 200 students missing cus in the halls and in class there was sucha little student poplutation, unlike normal days
Concerned Mother March 09, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Why were there no locker searches??? We were told the school would be searched before classes started today. Where else are they going to hide a gun?? Not in a class room!! Ehmann is not going to give you the real number of absent students because he wants to down play the whole incident!
Larissa March 10, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Yeah I agree there were only like 6-12 students in each of my classes
Former LIer March 10, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Alex - were you there?
Former LIer March 10, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Do those who were absent expect that there was nothing taught today?
Maria March 10, 2012 at 03:10 AM
200 students absent - more? An uneventful day handled properly. Lets hope there isn't a repeat in he near future. The school and the police receive highest accolades for handling the situation properly. Thank you.
Concerned Alumni March 10, 2012 at 03:50 AM
I graduated from this school in 1996 and it saddens me to hear about the student population's drug problems (Heroin) along with the most recent shooting threat. I only have fond memories of my classmates and teachers back when I attended. What a difference 15-16 years can bring.
black March 10, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Big concern here!!! Parents message from our superintendent today was because of all the media attention we will keep our school on lockdown!! This child must be caught and the family should pay for all this! Why weren't the families told about the 5th grader on the bus a few weeks back with a knife and cutting up seat!!! Come on a 3 day suspension for this kid, ship him off to a boarding school, he is not welcome in our schools!!!
worried mother March 10, 2012 at 11:42 AM
What security measures are being taken in the middle and elementary schools? They are right next door to the high school!
Parent March 10, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Alex, how did this become about drugs? Parents, this is not a reflection on the school, this is about parenting. The school did not raise the individual(s) who created this situation. Let's not deflect this cause of this problem onto the people who suffer the consequences of others. I'd like to see some of you encourage your children to stand up and report what they see going on and not just complain about it after the fact. Seems like we ha e a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacking going on.
WOODY11780 March 10, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Problems, on top of problems, on top of prolems with kids today. .. Even though I feel this was just a kids hoax, measures had to be taken by the school & the police dept, that caused a huge disruption in daily routine..... somebody's child wrote that message on the lavatory wall, & every effort should be taken to find that child, & remove that child from the learning system we as whole, one way or another contribute to, & support. Back in the 60s & 70s, this type of behavior hardly existed, because both parents were in arms reach of their children, if they got out of line....And believe me... I knew exactly where that line was with my parents...But in today's family's,... both mom & dad are working or divorced, & kids are spoiled rotten with money, cars, cell phones, Ipods, etc. etc. Most wouldn't know what end of a fishing pole to hold if given one.....QUALITY PARENTING is missing with today's kids.
joe March 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I graduated in 97 from smithtown. What is the deal with smithtown. Somethings wrong with the parents, the teacher and the students. I hear the rumors of heroin among smithtowns youth. When did this towns youth fall into the gutters. Where are the morals. What are they teaching these days. Disappointed alumni
joe March 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I graduated in 97 from smithtown. What is the deal with smithtown. Somethings wrong with the parents, the teacher and the students. I hear the rumors of heroin among smithtowns youth. When did this towns youth fall into the gutters. Where are the morals. What are they teaching these days. Disappointed alumni
localgirl March 12, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Was the bus incident from Accompsett Elementary? My daughter goes there. Do you know the bus number? I'm seriously thinking of moving out of this town.
localgirl March 12, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Things are being reported and ignored. And it is not just an isolated incident. I know this for a fact. It has happen to my kids and to my friend's kids. These situtations arrise yes because of lack of parenting, but also because the school's is not handling the bullying problems. Have you notice that all the shootings of late are committed by victims of bullies? They are leaving the victims of bullies, our kids no option but to defend themselves, while the adults in the schools look the other way. Unfortunately, this solution is turning innocent children into killers and the bullies into the dearly departed. Way to educate!!!
Chances.are.i.hate.you March 14, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Why would they hide the gun? Just bring it in that day, there's less of a chance of getting caught. What else was supposed to be done? And why not try to play it down and not cause som type of hysterical out break over something that didn't happen? Or maybe what everyone should do is send a lot of emails and write a lot of comments on this board with a lot of question marks and exclamation points because obviously, that is going to make a world of difference.
Chances.are.i.hate.you March 14, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I just came across this river of nonsensical drivel earlier tonight. I wasn't going to post anything here because I'm usually not one of these people that wastes my time pissing into the wind of these mental hurricanes, but I just couldn't help myself. I graduated smithtown a little over a decade ago. Here's news for everyone here, drugs aren't a new problem at smithtown. They were there then, they are there now and most likely will be in the future. Probably fairly similar to any other high school across this country. To think other wise is not only delusional but also small minded. The fact that it is being acknowledged now is because there are people dying from drugs. News to people of this board, most of the heroine problem is stemming from the use of pain killers and anti-depressants that most of you over the age of 50 probably have somewhere in the house. I would very much doubt (outside of a small sample of the population) that the first drug a child would do is heroine. So, truth be told, the problem is with acknowledging the fact that your kid might be smoking weed or stealing your pills (or another parents') and dealing with that. Who has woken up one day, having never done drugs and said, "hey, I'm going to shoot some heroine today!" yeah, probably no one. So wrap your mind around that.
Chances.are.i.hate.you March 14, 2012 at 03:15 AM
This whole thing too about "quality parenting." I work with the general public and deal with people between their 40's to 90's everyday and have done so for about a decade, the quality of people out on long island is still as varied as it was when I was in high school. Also, judging by the older demographic of the population I deal with as well, the patterns seem to be fairly consistent. Some people are, better more responsible parents then others. Where the problem here actually lies is the complete sham that has been made of anyone being able to follow through on any type of consequences for the students. What you see happen time and time again is the kid with no friends who's parents don't have any money catches the blame if he farts in church. However, if Johnny, who's parents live in head of the harbor and mom and dad are good friends with some local cowboys gets caught, hmm, who knows, spray painting a swastika on someone's house (happened about ten years ago, got no press, will not mention names) he gets away scott-free. Our biggest problem is entitlement. This is a bigoted town, is now, was then, always will be. The have and the have not. And if you think otherwise, you can stop reading here. Not bigoted in the 60's and 70's way (which whatever brain surgeon above referenced that as the golden age of parenting, dude, get real, people were doing drugs then that people wouldn't even think of doing now. Plus the overwhelming racism that was rampant and the fact that
Chances.are.i.hate.you March 14, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Homosexuality was still a sickness. Yeah parenting 101, reference the 60-70's, good call) but bigoted in the class way. And not even so much by the students, from what I remember, but from the parents. Also, look at the housing market on the island or employment. Foreclosures and unemployment, leading to more foreclosures. What does this say to kids? It's okay to over extend yourself and just hope for the best. So just push it to the limit. And the kids of these people just keep getting bailed out of problem after problem after problem. That just shows them, hey, I'm never going to get in trouble for anything. So even if I decide that I'm going to write I'm going to shoot up the school on the wall, you know what's going to happen to them? Nothing because mom and dad will come to the rescue and not let their child hang and deal with the consequences of their actions. Now this is all fine and well through high school because parents can bail their kids out, but what happens to Johnny when it's time to apply for college. Here, there are two roads, one, mom and dad can buy him into a good school, 2, they can't. Let's look at number two for instance? So, Johnny can't get into that "good school" let's say he goes to Suffolk. He's there for the two years, but let's face facts Johnny's been spoon fed everything his entire life, he's not making "educational strides" with his .25 GPA. He finishes school, works a dead end job until his parents die and then he inherits their money.
Chances.are.i.hate.you March 14, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Take a guess where this cycle is going. Option two for Johnny, his parents buy him into the "good school" and he knows to some extent that he needs to put in some sort of effort. He pulls decent grades and if he finishes without killing one of his college girlfriends, there's probably no major hiccups in his post high school career. He graduates, but instead of having to find a job like all of the poor people he graduated high school with, his parents own a business. A big successful business and they make a lot of money. Johnny walks in, not on entry level, but at some upper level starting his employed career at $250k at 21. He's never had to work a day in his life for anything, why would he start now. This is very much a "not my kid" type of environment, when everyone else is doing something wrong, but not their child. Wake up. Just because your kid got in trouble for something that they should get in trouble for, it's not a reason to call your lawyer. You aren't doing your kid any favors. What you are doing is turning them into an entitled, spineless and useless container of organs for the rest of their life. In closing, I don't want you all to think that this is some poor kid that got shafted by the system or some rich prick who finally "found god" I come from a working class family, I graduated with honors and went to a top 15 school. I could of done heroine in high school if I wanted to. It was there, it was available, I didn't, because I knew better. However,
Chances.are.i.hate.you March 14, 2012 at 03:46 AM
As a person that has known people that have done it, and have died from it, it's not an easy battle. I'm in now way trying to down play the severity of what this specific situation is. If you really want to help your kid, admit to yourself, as a parent, that they do have a problem and get them the help they need, do not wait until its too late. Finally in offical closing, if you have guns in your house, don't let your kids borrow them to shoot up the school. Be responsible for your own actions. Second, your kids mostly all live at home, make sure you don't hear them filling up clips in their bedroom listening to Marylin Manson (remember when people thought that was the big problem causer, music? Haha!) and speaking in tongues . If there is an issue with your kid, address it, because if you don't they will either end up dead or some type of mental midget.
Chances.are.i.hate.you March 14, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Oh man, I just read your post again. It makes me so nauseous. Locker searches were a concept put out and started by Ronald Reagan in 1984. And also school shooting were happening long before the creation of lockers anyway. The first reported school shooting was in 1764. 10 students were killed along with the school master. Searching lockers to stop school shootings would serve as much purpose as outlawing genocide after the holocaust. Also, I can't tell you how many bomb scares were called into smithtown when I went there. More then I could probably count on two hands. You know what those evacuations led to? An hour and a half outside, and they usually and coincidentally only happened in the spring.

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