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Police investigate threats against Rocky Point and Riverhead schools

Rocky Point Middle School, where a student admitted

Rocky Point Middle School, where a student admitted to an "ill-conceived hoax" made in a 911 call. Credit: James Carbone

A student admitted posting an anonymous threat on social media against Rocky Point Middle School and, once identified, said it was done as "an ill-conceived hoax," the Rocky Point superintendent wrote in a letter Monday.

In an unrelated incident Tuesday, Riverhead school officials posted on the district's website that "a racist threat was made against students at Riverhead High School" and that all schools were placed on lockout, prohibiting any visitors  entry to the building.  The lockout was lifted about an hour later, shortly after 11 a.m., and "schools will proceed on a normal day," according to the district.

Someone called 911 at 9:41 a.m. to report "threats of acts of violence" at the school, prompting Riverhead police to respond, said Det. Patrick Waski, who is handling the case.

After working with school officials to narrow down who had called, police arrested a student, 16, and charged him with falsely reporting an incident, Waski said.

The teenager had used his cellphone to call from the school, Waski said. The student is being charged as a juvenile so other details, including the nature of the threats, were not disclosed.

No students were injured,  nor was there any immediate danger as a result of the 911 call, police said.

"It turned out to be a lot of nothing, but enough for us to investigate and have a police response," Waski said. 

 In the Rocky Point incident, district Superintendent Michael Ring wrote in a letter to parents and guardians that the district was informed of the anonymous post on Monday afternoon, after dismissal.

The district notified Suffolk police and a police investigation was begun. The district conducted its own internal investigation with its security personnel, the letter said. As a result of the probes, the student was identified.

"That student has admitted to making the inappropriate posting and has noted that it was made as an ill-conceived hoax, rather than a credible threat to our schools," Ring wrote.

The district would not confirm the gender of the student, what grade the student is in or what disciplinary action the student may face. The district became aware of the threat after 3 p.m. Monday, and the superintendent's note was sent to parents  that night.

"Please be assured that our district takes these matters very seriously," Ring's letter said. "All reported concerns are investigated to the fullest extent possible and disciplinary action is taken against those found in violation of the district’s Code of Conduct. I can firmly say, that will be the case with this matter."

Suffolk police said Tuesday officers in the Seventh Precinct Crime Section "investigated a threat posted on social media on Feb. 25 regarding the Rocky Point School District. The threat was fully investigated and vetted and deemed to be unfounded."

Ring, in his letter, wrote that he "cannot overemphasize that the information we receive about suspicious matters is invaluable. However, as technology — specifically social media — continues to evolve and become a means for sharing information, both accurate and rumored, I ask that you please take this opportunity to remind your child(ren) that one’s words have power."

With Ellen Yan


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