Niskayuna parents demanding answers after recent school threats

November 07, 2018 11:20 PM

NISKAYUNA - Outrage at Niskayuna High School Wednesday evening.  A meeting was held to discuss safety protocols after two threats of violence were made against schools in the district this week.

The threat at Van Antwerp Middle School on Wednesday was a hoax. Still, the school was placed under a shelter in place for several hours.


This comes as questions still linger after a nearly six-hour lockdown at Niskayuna High School on Monday.

Dozens of people gathered in the auditorium to ask district officials why Monday's lockdown took so long.

"What a lot of people have to understand is you have to follow give to trust and follow what law enforcement are giving you with this situation that you're dealing with,” Niskayuna High School Principal John Ricker said.

Many are upset over the fact that students were forced to go to the bathroom in trash cans.

"Prolong to lockdowns create extreme inconveniences. We do everything we can to keep the kids as safe as possible,” Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra said.

Tangorra said the district will order special kits that address those needs, among others.

Other students were on buses, making their way back from BOCES programs when the lockdown was in effect. They were transferred to a different bus that served as a barricade in front of the school.

"This was a bad fumble of the ball in my opinion,” Rosemary Joralemon said. Her grandson was one of the students on the “barricade bus.”

“What was going on in the school was bad enough but you don't bring children into harm’s way when they're already save it outside of the situation,” Joralemon said. “And then you don't put them on the first line of defense which is in the words of the police chief the barricade bus. Made no sense to me."

Tangorra said that issue will be addressed.

"So we'll just make sure that dispatch is and touch with every single bus that out at that time. So we'll just tighten up that communication,” he said.

Todd Sardella has children in both the high school and Van Antwerp Middle School. He's concerned about the emotional toll these threats have on students.

"That was my primary concern is the psychological damage, the ongoing psychological damage that the children feel after something like this happens,” Sardella said.

Sardella hopes the recent wave of violent threats dies down soon.

"I'm a little bit worried about the future for my kids and the rest of the kids here because this is a fantastic school district and I don't want my child to be nervous or scared to come to school,” Sardella said.

Parents were also concerned that students who walk to school were dismissed in the dark while it was raining.

Parents were specifically asked not to come pick up their children at the high school, so many of them crossed Balltown Road on foot.

Tangorra said in the future that will not happen again. He also said there will be another meeting about improving safety protocols and procedures in the near future.


WNYT Staff

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