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Superintendent: Threat to Huntington schools on Instagram probed

Huntington High School scene on Thursday, March 8,

Huntington High School scene on Thursday, March 8, 2018. Credit: James Carbone

Authorities are investigating the source of a comment on the Huntington school district Instagram page “suggesting violence against our schools should a weather-related closure not occur,” the superintendent said Wednesday in a letter to families.

“The Suffolk County Police Department was notified immediately in precautionary fashion and has commenced a full investigation of the matter,” Huntington Union Free School District Superintendent James W. Polansky said in the letter.

“While the threat was deemed generic and less than credible, we know that the subsequent transfer of information via social media is swift and often speculative,” he said.

Polansky said anyone involved in the threat, which was attached to a post on the Instagram page, would be “accountable to the extent that the law allows.”

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said Second Precinct Crime Section officers were investigating the comment, which “was perceived as a threat toward the Huntington Union Free School District.”

Police said the comment was posted on Tuesday “regarding action to be taken” on Wednesday, when a nor’easter hit Long Island.

“A preliminary investigation has determined there is no credible threat at this time,” the spokeswoman said.

In a telephone interview Thursday morning, Polansky said he was “confident [police] are doing what needs to be done on their end.”

In the letter, Polansky urged parents to speak with their children about the responsible use of social media and the potential consequences of posting something “irresponsibly.”

“In the current climate marred by recent school tragedies, nothing will be taken lightly,” Polansky said.

A pencil drawing on a classroom desk in a Queens high school was the source of a social media post displaying a message to “shoot up the school” that disrupted Long Island school districts on Monday, the NYPD said.

A student at Hillcrest High School, in the Jamaica Hills section, saw the image on Feb. 27. It was reported to a teacher and subsequently someone took a picture of the threat and shared it via Snapchat, police said.

Authorities said the threat was only against Hillcrest High School but districts across Nassau and Suffolk counties enacted heightened security measures Monday as parents and school officials reported a threatening Snapchat post that had circulated widely.

An NYPD spokeswoman said Nassau County police, after learning of the Snapchat post, “reached out to us. We had the initial investigation.”

No arrests have been made in that incident, which remains under investigation, police said.

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