Scholars’ Academy parents and students were left feeling uneasy ahead of the start of the school week after a student allegedly made posts on social media, threatening to bring a gun to school on Monday morning. As soon as school officials caught wind of the situation, NYPD was notified, and actions were taken to investigate the threat and heighten security on Monday, December 13.
Screenshots made the rounds around student and parent groups over the weekend after a Scholars’ student sent Snapchat messages with photos of a gun and a message reading “Ya’ll do good to find a good hiding spot on monday.” In another message to a friend, the student wrote “What if all the people that annoyed u were dead in front of [u]. Blood on yo hands. Wouldnt that feel amazing. To see them beg i bring my gun closer and closer to them All of them…Their eyes full of fear.”
In the wake of the mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan on November 30, the threat was not taken lightly. It left many students asking parents, “Do I have to go to school on Monday?”
Meanwhile immediate action was taken. NYPD allegedly went to the home of the student to investigate the threat. In a letter to parents from Scholars’ Principal Michele Smyth, it was said the threat was found to be “not credible.” Some parents were upset over that determination after reading the student’s social media posts. Principal Smyth followed up saying the “not credible” claim was made by the NYPD. It was later learned that the weapon shown in the photos was a BB gun. Due to the ongoing investigation and privacy laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, more specific information regarding this investigation was not able to be provided, leaving parents apprehensive about whether or not it was safe to send their kids to school on Monday.
For those who did go to Scholars’ on Monday, they found that things were a little different. In response to the threat, School Safety and the NYPD had an increased presence around the school on Monday. Metal detectors, something Scholars’ doesn’t normally have, were also installed for the day. "Safety is always our paramount priority, and when this threat was reported we immediately contacted NYPD who performed a thorough investigation. Scholars' Academy was provided with additional police presence and the school is following up with appropriate interventions,” a DOE spokesperson said. According to parents, by Tuesday, the increased police presence and metal detectors were gone.
On Tuesday, December 14, the incident was discussed at a principals’ meeting, which was recapped at the Community Board 14 meeting. Chairperson Dolores Orr explained the student was arrested and later released to his parents. Since the student did not bring the BB gun to school, Chancellors’ Regulations only allow for a six-day suspension, making it unclear on whether or not the student will return to class next week. CB member Harold Paez reiterated that deeper details about the student’s punishment could not be revealed due to legalities involving a minor, but the school was taking the threat seriously.
By Katie McFadden
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