Two Patchogue-Medford High School students were arrested Tuesday and charged with making bomb threats in a school that has been disrupted by numerous bomb threats in recent weeks.
Anthony Ferraro, 18, of 2807 Heather Ave., Medford, and a second individual who is a juvenile, were charged with first-degree falsely reporting an incident. Ferraro was to be arraigned in First District Court in Central Islip Wednesday. The juvenile was released to the custody of his parents and is scheduled to appear in Family Court at a later date.
School personnel reported to police that they had found messages written on a bathroom wall on Friday and Monday, stating a bomb was going to go off at the school.
Tuesday, a day after two bomb threats disrupted classes at Patchogue-Medford High School, a 19-year-old student was struck by a car after a fire alarm prompted by a smoking toaster forced an evacuation of the school, officials said.
The student was talking on a cell phone and disregarded a dean's order to put the phone away and stay on the sidewalk in front of the school, said district spokesman Frederick McKenna. The teen's foot was run over by a car and he was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, Suffolk police said. The extent of his injuries was not known.
Police said they are investigating the incident; as of Tuesday afternoon, no charges had been filed against the driver, who was not identified.
A sprinkler system sensor in the school sent an automatic alarm to Suffolk County fire command Tuesday at 7:47 a.m., officials said.
"It was either a piece of burnt toast or possibly a muffin that set it off," McKenna said.
He said he did not know who burned it, or what room the toaster was in.
The school has had four bomb threats over the past six weeks and, in response to those disruptions, Tuesday morning implemented lockdown procedures - checking bags upon entrance, using wands to sweep for electronics, and barring access to student lockers.
In response to the instances Monday, the school was evacuated and police conducted searches. Nothing was found. Securing the lockers allow for quicker, more efficient building searches, Principal Randy Rusielewicz said Monday.
Parents and students Tuesday said they were frustrated by the repeated disruptions.
Standing outside while officials sweep the school "is a waste of time," Richard Serrano, 18, said. "This is affecting my education."
SandraCaruso, 47, of Medford, whose son is a junior, said the recent events are especially disruptive for students as they prepare for finals.
Aneesha Masih, 18, a senior, echoed this sentiment: "We need teachers more than ever right now because finals are coming up and the constant interruptions are taking up from review timecq on "up from"."
After the accident Tuesday, McKenna defended the school's evacuation plan, saying students are frequently drilled in safe evacuation procedures. Nevertheless, he said, school officials will re-examine the plan and look for ways to prevent future injuries.
"You don't have 3,000 supervisors," he said. "You go through drills, you provide instruction. You're relying on the responsibility and accountability of high school students."
With Matthew Coleman
and Bill Mason