Threats against city schools have reached epidemic proportions.
The NYPD has fielded 334 threats of violence against schools since September, an average of two a day — and 18 percent more than the 282 threats received over the same time last school year, the department told The Post.
While the NYPD would not give the number of arrests made in connection to the threats, the problem has worsened as school shootings continue around the country, including the Feb. 14 massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla., and the May 18 killing of 10 at Santa Fe HS in Texas.
A week after the Texas tragedy, NYC schools reported threats on three consecutive days:
- On Monday, the school where President Trump’s son Barron used to attend, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory on West 93rd Street, was evacuated and closed when the words “shooting today at 12:45” were found scrawled in a girl’s restroom stall. The school reopened the next day, and the case remains under investigation, police said.
- On Tuesday, the principal of MS 279 on Walton Avenue in The Bronx called 911 to report a student warning, “You watch. I’m going to shoot you all down.” The 13-year-old was angrily reacting to a classmate who mocked him for an Instagram page where his mom displayed tattoos, sources said. The menacing remark took on more urgency when cops found a video of the boy learning how to fire a weapon at a shooting range.
- On Wednesday, a student at Aviation HS in Long Island City, the highly rated trade school where kids learn airplane mechanics, allegedly Snapchatted a photo of guns, knives and rifles with the caption: “I’m going to napalm the school.” Ten cops rushed to the school after a student’s dad reported seeing a screenshot of the threat. No one was arrested as of Friday.
The threats have come verbally, by phone, letter, e-mail and on social media, said NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie.
“We the students at Francis Lewis High will die,” read a message posted Feb. 15, the day after the Parkland shootings, with the emoji of a gun.
Thomas Nagan, 18, a Queens College student, was arrested on a felony charge of making a terroristic threat, police said.
Francis Lewis parents have successfully petitioned the NYPD to keep an armed cop stationed at the school full-time.
The same day, police responded to a 911 call from Brooklyn Prospect Charter Middle and High School on Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn, where students reported a Snapchat message stating “they were going to gun down the school,” police said.
Cops arrested two 16-year-old students, identified as Joshua Schechter and Cole Carlberg. Both were charged with making a terroristic threat, aggravated harassment and weapon possession.
Some educators believe schools should harshly punish students who make such threats, even in jest or without intent to harm.
On March 2 at La Guardia HS, the “Fame” school for arts and performing arts in Midtown, a male senior reportedly told a girl classmate that he “wanted to shoot the school up so that he could know the feeling of taking a human life.”
The girl and her teacher immediately notified the deans. She and the boy were escorted out by cops and questioned. But the following Monday, the boy was back in school as usual. “To say that the girl who reported him was terrified is an understatement,” a staffer told The Post. “No effort was made by the administration to reassure faculty or students.”
The city Department of Education’s discipline code prohibits “threatening or instigating violence, injury or harm to another or others.”
But how threats are dealt with is murky. The code lists a wide range of possible disciplinary responses and “guidance interventions” — from a parent conference to expulsion. DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said she could not discuss specific cases because of student privacy rules.
School staffs get trained annually on safety protocol, including a requirement to report threats immediately to the NYPD, she said. Schools must conduct four lockdown drills and eight evacuation drills each year to prepare for shootings and other emergencies.
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