The Sewanhaka Board of Education received an e-mail from Barbara Reynolds, President of the Sewanhaka Central Council of PTAs, regarding a lockdown of Elmont Memorial on January 15, thanking the district administration “on a job well done. We all felt very comfortable going about our business while our children were in school.”
The high school was placed on lockdown status last Tuesday after reports of a suspicious person described as a teenager with a lime green-colored gun in a backpack on school grounds prompted the action after a 911 call. The school was placed on lockdown for six hours until police recovered the toy in a student’s locker.
At the district PTA meeting on January 16 there was “nothing but praise for the entire staff,” Reynolds wrote. “We think our high school board of ed members should know what a magnificent job group that you have working at Elmont Memorial. In addition we hope that the district reviews this opportunity to improve the lockdown process.”
Sewanhaka Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie was present at Elmont Memorial Tuesday morning when the event occurred.
“As I said to the staff at the end of the day, it’s just so wonderful to see a reaction in the caring professionals that we have in all of our schools but in particular that day at Elmont Memorial,” Dr. Ferrie said during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Sewanhaka Board of Education at Sewanhaka High School. “To see how our teachers stepped up to make sure our students were safe, their needs were met appropriately and I too want to congratulate them and thank them publicly for what they did.”
No injuries were reported as the result of the lockdown at Elmont. The superintendent did address some of Reynolds’ concerns brought up in the email.
“We are continuing to examine our safety processes and our safety plans within our district and will continue to do so because that is something that is of utmost importance to us,” he said. “But please be assured that based upon what we witnessed on Tuesday, our students are in excellent hands with the adults in our buildings.”
Ferrie added: “what really impresses me was when the press waited at the end of the day to interview our students, our students echoed that same concept in that they told the press that ‘this is something we practice, this is something that we prepare for and our whole staff and our teachers and our administration in the building took care of us.’ So, unfortunately we had that day but in the end we all will learn from it and build upon that experience and get better in the future.”