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Swatting Summary

Anonymous phone call to NHP resulted in the evacuation of all students and faculty with an eventual dismissal.

By Helee Shukla

On Tuesday, May 23, NHP was evacuated in response to an anonymous voicemail informing the school of a bomb in the building and demanding that school be canceled for two weeks. While the message was vague and undescriptive, NHP administration took action immediately and contacted Homeland Security in addition to the local police department, as well as the bomb, arson and canine units.

In order for the incoming units to conduct a thorough search of the building, superintendent Dr. Grossane instructed NHP administration to announce an evacuation of all students and faculty at 9 a.m. When the message was relayed through the loudspeakers, the evacuation was referred to as a “drill,” prompting many students and teachers to leave their belongings behind, under the impression that they would soon return and resume class. But as students spent more than a few minutes outside on the football field, news spread that the school had received a bomb threat and the evacuation was not a drill.

"Dr. Faccio decided at that time that the most important thing was to get all students out of the building safely and securely with the least amount of disruption. Once Dr. Faccio assessed that everyone was safely on the football field, it was then that he let everyone know what was happening and what the next steps were moving forward," Assistant Principal Mr. Geritano said.

Source by Areej Zaidi

Students gather on the football field and in the bleachers outside of NHP while the swat situation is assessed.

Some students expressed their criticisms towards the fact that they were left in the dark regarding the situation.

“I was annoyed because I couldn’t get my stuff, and I had a test the next day, too,” seventh-grader Dhruv Jani said.

Upon consulting the local police department, NHP administration made the decision to dismiss students at 10:15 a.m. to clear the premises completely. Students at Sewanhaka for CTE classes were informed of the dismissal and instructed to immediately take a bus to be dropped off at an adjacent street to the school, where they could either be picked up by their parents or walk home. However, some students had left behind their house and/or car keys. Some even left their phones, and they had to stay behind for their parents to pick them up because they couldn’t get inside their houses.

“I was upset because I didn’t have a spare key I could use for my car, and the next morning, my dad wasn’t able to take the car to work, so it was really inconvenient for my family,” senior Adrianna Gomes said.

Teachers were required to follow a different protocol; a staff meeting was organized soon after students were dismissed to inform faculty that they would be permitted to enter the building once the swatting was completed, as the majority of them had no means of getting home without their keys.

“It was my first ever experience of this kind at NHP, but I am glad the administration acted swiftly," chemistry teacher Ms. Bansal said. "Though it was a little inconvenient as our stuff was still in the classrooms, but safety of the students and faculty was aptly given the priority. It was an eerie feeling to come back into the building with all the belongings of kids still left in place. In the end, I am glad that everyone is safe!”

As the search wrapped up and teachers had retrieved their items, the building was secured. Classrooms were locked and students’ belongings were left untouched, and there was no night security or cleanup that day. An email was sent directing students to first attend their second period class at 7:55 a.m. the following day to recover the items they left behind, and then follow their day two schedule beginning at period one.

This bomb threat was NHP’s first in several years, and some students and faculty speculate that it was a result of a fad going around Nassau and Suffolk County schools.

“We have people making these anonymous phone calls to schools that are basically untraceable because they’re using numbers that aren’t trackable, and with ChatGPT, it’s easier than ever,” Mr. Geritano said.

Later that day, administrators held an emergency safety meeting that was originally intended to be a general committee meeting, but due to the circumstances of the day, the agenda prioritized conversation on how the evacuation process could be improved. For the near future, students, parents and faculty hope to see more discussion regarding incorporating more evacuation drills into the required drills of the school year to get NHP better accustomed to the process.


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