CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. – Clarkstown police and educators are not messing around when they say that anyone caught making real -- or phony -- threats against students or schools, will be punished.
“We cannot, nor will we, tolerate disruptions to the learning environment or behavior that causes our students and families to be fearful,” said school Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Morton.
Morton, and others, were reacting Monday after two recent incidents involving Clarkstown North High School.
In the first case, an unidentified male student at the school reportedly threatened on Wednesday, May 4, to “shoot up the school” the next day, police said.
Police investigated and although the threat was determined not to be credible, the student faces disciplinary action from the school administration, they said.
Two days later, a concerned female student at the high school told police that a classmate had posted a Snapchat image of himself with a gun to his head with the caption "Do Not Go to School Today."
Police said they determined that the posting was a “hoax.”
A 17-year-old Congers boy, who was also not identified, was arrested and charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor.
He is due in Clarkstown Justice Court next month to answer the charge, police said.
Morton said that, regardless of the intention, the schools and police will investigate any such incidents and “ensure that there are swift and appropriate consequences both in our schools and through the legal system.”
He urged parents to talk to their kids about the issue of school violence and to have “open discussions about what they are reading on social media and hearing at school.”
According to Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan, recent laws enacted throughout the country make it a felony to make terroristic threats.
Even when made as a “joke,” cause “great stress, interfere with the educational process, and undermine the efforts put in place to protect our children,” Morton said.
Clarkstown police, he said, in partnership with school administrators, have “zero tolerance for any threats made for any reason.”
Any such threats will be “thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Sullivan said.
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