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.”