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Baldwin HS raises security after violence

Security guards are pictured at Baldwin High School

Security guards are pictured at Baldwin High School Monday. A stabbing occurred during Baldwin High School's homecoming football game Friday night. (Oct. 15, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

Baldwin High School students faced additional security measures Monday following violence at the homecoming football game Friday night in which gunshots were fired and a young man was found stabbed.

Extra guards checked student IDs and book bags before admitting students into the building, Baldwin School District spokeswoman Cristina Schmohl said.

"We worked with the police department over the weekend, and this was a recommendation to make sure that everyone in the building felt secure," said Schmohl, adding that Nassau County police also provided a patrol car Monday.

Staff social workers and school psychologists also were available to students and staff, she said.

Reaction from students to the increased security was mixed.

"A lot of people went home today because the lines were really long to get into school," junior Chris Almendarez, 17, of Baldwin said. "I left school because I heard the lines were two hours long." He said he returned to school in time for fourth period.

Several students said they received calls Sunday instructing them to carry belongings in a clear plastic bag or leave book bags outside. Principal Susan Knors sent out a message Monday evening saying the plastic bag and ID-checking policies would continue through the week, Schmohl said.

"I shouldn't have to do that," said junior Bobby Hines, 16, of Baldwin.

Still, Hines said he was "a little scared" by Friday's incident. "If we do have a night game [again], I'm not going."

The violence broke out about 8:30 p.m. during a break between the third and fourth quarters of the football game against Hicksville High School.

The game was called and Baldwin, which had been leading 33-0, was declared the winner.

An assailant opened fire as four young people from Freeport were leaving the game. A 20-year-old victim was punched in the face and stabbed in the buttocks and lower back soon after, police said.

Police declined to identify the victim, but said his injuries were not life-threatening.

By Monday evening, two male assailants remained at large and it was unclear whether the attacker was one of the two assailants, police said. Police said anyone with information could call 800-244-TIPS.

Parent Melissa Watts, 40, of Baldwin, said her family, including two elementary school-aged children, attended the game and talked about the violence afterward.

"I think there are things to learn from it. The kids have a right to be angry that these were not Baldwin kids," she said, while waiting in a parking lot to pick up her two teenagers. Moving forward, Watts said she is concerned about "what can we do to prevent losing a homecoming game or events like this."

Rachel Clark, 15, of Baldwin, said she felt the extra security at the school Monday was a good thing "to keep everyone safe" and that she would continue to go to night games "to support my school."

"I hope that one thing that happened at the school does not show that Baldwin is bad," she said. "It could happen anywhere." The district is still deciding next steps, Schmohl said. "Today, the administrators have been meeting all day and they're deciding how we're going to proceed going forward," she said. "We do have a football game on Saturday during the day, so we need to make decisions about that."

Baldwin superintendent James Mapes issued a message to parents Saturday, which was updated Monday, on the homecoming incident saying that the district administration and board of education were "very concerned."

"What had started out as a wonderful community event was cut short by criminal behavior that is being investigated by police," he said. "The district is cooperating fully with the investigation and taking every precaution to keep students and staff safe.. . . This incident is not a reflection of this community or district and we will work together to get through this situation."


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