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Home Schools Alvarez Letter on Rye School Bomb Threats

Alvarez Letter on Rye School Bomb Threats

Rye Superintendent of Schools Frank Alvarez issued the following letter about the three recent bomb threats made against the school:

Rye City School District
411 Theodore Fremd Avenue, Suite 100S
Rye, New York 10580-3845
Tel: (914) 967-6100 Ext. 6271 Fax: (914) 925-8950
Frank R. Alvarez, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
alvarezf@ryeschools.org

January 13, 2015

Dear RCSD Parents and Guardians:

We know that many of you are concerned about the recent evacuations at the Rye Middle and High School Campus due to these terrible bomb threats. We share your concerns and frustrations over these disruptions, and I want to take this opportunity to provide everyone with more information about the protocols involved with these threats and about the ongoing police investigation.

When bomb threats or similar emergencies occur, the District follows a set of procedures from our emergency management plan created in conjunction with StoneGate, a private security firm that specializes in school security. As soon as a threat is received, an administrator immediately begins an evacuation of the building, contacts the Rye Police Department and notifies the School District Administration. In all three cases of the receipt of a bomb threat, these procedures have been followed within minutes of the administration’s knowledge of a threat.

The Rye Police Department calls in the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and they come and take over the scene with teams of bomb-sniffing dogs and equipment belonging to the bomb detonation squad. They cordon off the campus and begin a thorough sweep of the building. How long that sweep takes is dependent on the number of dog teams and handlers. We take our direction from the County Public Safety Officers as to when the building is deemed safe and issue the “all clear” notification shortly thereafter.

During an emergency, our first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the children, faculty and staff at the school that is directly impacted by the event. Our second responsibility is to communicate as fully and promptly as possible with the parents and families of the students, faculty and staff directly impacted by the event. We do not report which locations the students will be evacuated to for safety reasons. Once the situation is resolved, we then are at liberty to communicate the information to the Rye City School District community at large.

These bomb threats constitute a criminal act; and there are active, ongoing Police investigations into all three of them at both the Rye Police and Westchester County Police level. We fully expect that when a perpetrator is identified in one or more of these incidents, there will be an arrest.

In the event that the perpetrator is found to be a student, there are disciplinary procedures outlined in our District Code of Conduct that would apply. Please be aware that FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) rules about privacy would apply in the case of a minor. In compliance with the law, the District would not be able to provide any specific information about the disciplinary actions taken against the person or persons involved.

We are all eager for this situation to be resolved as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging and frustrating time for all of us in the Rye City School District community.

Sincerely,

Frank Alvarez
Superintendent

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