Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Elmont HS Lockdown: Taking No Chances

Thirty-one days after terror struck Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Elmont Memorial High School was locked down due to a 911 call that brought back unwanted memories of a sunny Dec. 14 that turned dark in an instant. Luckily in Nassau County, it was a toy that brought about the lockdown – not the real thing. 

The high school was locked down early Tuesday morning on Jan. 15 after a suspicious person was seen putting what looked like a gun in a backpack, according to police. A four-hour search ensued, with police finding an air-powered Nerf toy lever-action pistol.

Nassau County Police said a person called 911 at about 7:40 a.m. and reported seeing a male teenager walk into the school with the toy. Authorities confirmed the gun was a lime green.

A SWAT team was also present. Students called their parents from the field behind the school, where many were evacuated, according to police.

Principal John Capozzi said four automated phone calls were dispatched to school parents, updating them on the developments throughout the lockdown.

“Once we secured the inside of the building, we moved the students from the outside of the building to the baseball field where more police responded and [students] were allowed into the cafeteria, where they were placed on lockdown there,” Capozzi stated, noting every student was fed.

Districts across Long Island practice lockdown drills throughout the year. Capozzi said hallways, which he estimated contained 1,500 students between classes, were cleared in less than one minute.

“It worked to perfection,” he said, commenting on student behavior and administrative implementation of lockdown procedures. “Kids knew exactly what to do, teachers knew exactly what to do.”

Sewanhaka Central High School District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie would not provide details about the student or whether he was reprimanded for bringing the toy to the school. About 24 police officers were outside the school as late as 10:40 a.m. police said.

Ferrie was onsite when the 911-call came in. He said he was in the building all day and that the district will continue to analyze current and future safety procedures.

“As a result of this incident, it did demonstrate that through the collaborative approach between the Nassau County Police Department and [the high school], specifically the building administration, staff, teachers and the students, our security and lockdown procedures work and that our students are safe,” Ferrie told the New Hyde Park Illustrated News. 

The incident occurred on the same day state legislators in Albany were hammering out details to pass stricter New York State gun laws. The bill expands the state’s existing ban on assault weapons and makes it illegal for a mentally ill person to own a firearm.

Ferrie stated high school staff addressed the students concerning the incident. “Students practiced [the security procedures] and we’re continuing to self-reflect and look at ways we can always improve,” said Ferrie. “What we saw were the security procedures and the lockdown drills in place and they worked.”

News

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.

The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.

“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com