Authorities on Tuesday evacuated St. Francis Preparatory School after a bomb threat was delivered via a phone call to the Fresh Meadows high school’s administrative office, according to police and SFP leadership.
In a letter posted on Tuesday afternoon to the homepage of the school’s website—and taken down on Wednesday morning—Principal Patrick McLaughlin briefed the “St. Francis Prep Community” on the threat, which turned out to be a hoax, and the Police Department’s response.
“Today at approximately 12:40 p.m. we received a suspicious phone call and immediately contacted the NYPD. We engaged in a soft lockdown.”
[Soft lockdown, according to the city Department of Education, implies that there is no identified imminent danger to sweep teams. Students are trained to move out of sight and maintain silence. Teachers are trained to: Check the hallway outside of their classrooms for students, lock classroom doors, and turn the lights off; move away from sight and maintain silence; wait for first responders to open door, or the “All Clear” message “The Lockdown has been lifted” followed by specific directions; take attendance and account for missing students by contacting main office.]
“Police arrived at school in minutes and ultimately directed us to perform an evacuation,” McLaughlin wrote.
“At that point, the police department did a sweep of the building. They found that there was no threat and that the building was completely safe.
The students, faculty, and staff returned to the building, reported to Cor for attendance, and were dismissed from homeroom. There are no restrictions to after-school sports and activities.
I thank the staff, faculty, and administration for their leadership during these drills. I especially thank the students for their outstanding cooperation.
I assure you that St. Francis Prep remains a safe environment for our staff, faculty, and students.
By Michael V. Cusenza firstname.lastname@example.org