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Niskayuna lockdown: Student connected to threat found, district says

Niskayuna lockdown: Student connected to threat found, district says

School went into lockdown on Nov. 5
Niskayuna lockdown: Student connected to threat found, district says
Photographer: Gazette file photo

NISKAYUNA -- High school officials say they will discipline a high school student whose actions forced a lengthy lockdown at the school on Nov. 5.

"An individual student will face disciplinary consequences in accordance with our school code of conduct," said Niskayuna High School Principal John Rickert in a statement posted on the district and high school websites Friday.

The student was not identified. Consequences of the code of conduct violation were not released.

"As a general practice, we do not discuss the details of individual student discipline," Rickert said in the statement.

"Given that this investigation is ongoing, we are not in a position to share more at this time," the statement also said, "even as we recognize our school community's desire for more information."

District Superintendent Dr. Cosimo Tangorra Jr., speaking after Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Education, said, "A student was found to be responsible and a code of conduct has been implemented. That's all there is to say."

A criminal arrest has not been made in the case.

"Our investigation continues," Deputy Police Chief Michael Stevens said Tuesday night. "At this point, no arrest."

The school went into lockdown after a student found a threatening note inside the Balltown Road building at about 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 5. Niskayuna police were at the scene by 12:48 p.m.

The threatening note identified a student as the first intended victim.

About 40 police officers and six police dogs searched the school for explosives and weapons in an operation that lasted 6 1/2 hours. No dangerous items were found, and students were released at 6:20 p.m.

Parents and students, some frustrated and angered by the lockdown procedures, complained to police and school officials during a forum held last Wednesday inside the high school auditorium.

A second forum will be held Monday at 6 p.m. in the auditorium. A safety forum intended for high school students only will be held Thursday.

The lockdown spurred some statements during the Board of Education session. 

Jonathan Romano, one of two student representatives on the board, said the inconveniences and hardships experienced by students during the lockdown were a "small price" to pay for safety.

"We understand how things had to happen the way they did," Romano, a senior, told board members.

Mary Eads, president of the Niskayuna Teachers Association who teaches global history at the high school, said teachers calmed and comforted students during the lockdown, putting their own fears aside. She believes the experience brought teachers closer to each other, and closer to their students.

But she also said teachers have been working without a contract for 136 days. The contract with the 375-member association expired June 30.

"It is time for this board of education to show teachers what you think of them," Eads said. "We deserve a fair contract."

Eads received extended applause. She later said that many of the 100-plus people in the room were teachers. Eads was the only person who signed up to speak during the "privilege of the floor" portion of the meeting.

Tangorra, during his superintendent's report, said he has received hundreds of emails regarding the lockdown.

"I think it's important that everyone know that the vast majority of comments I've received, either through email or people reaching out directly, have been offers of support and assistance," Tangorra said.

"I know that the negative comments seem to make it the forefront for a variety of reasons," Tangorra said, but added that he believes the number of positive comments represent many people who want to help and be part part of a solution.

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]

 

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