By Arielle Dollinger
Emailed bomb threats to Half Hollow Hills High School East provoked bag checks, heightened security and an extension of the first quarter marking period, as detailed in a series of emails sent to parents last week.
The threats came in anonymous Nov. 6 emails to both the school district and the Suffolk County Police Department.
“im gonna blow up hills east tmrw at 9am; F— AMERICA; F— YOU; DON’T TRY TO STOP ME; YOU WILL ALL DIE,” the threat sent to the school districts reads, in part.
“F— AMERICA; I AM BOMBING HALF HOLLOW HILLS EAST TOMORROW AT 9PM SHARPP,” the threat sent to police reads, in part.
Police searched the building on Thursday, as did “a team of explosive detecting dogs,” according to an email for Hills East officials; all students entered the school through its main entrance and had their bags searched.
The bomb threat marks the second to the district in a three-week span; the first, directed toward Hills West, was discovered written on the wall of a school bathroom during the week of Oct. 13.
Though school remained in session on both Thursday and Friday, emails to parents on Thursday said that all tests and quizzes to be given Friday would be rescheduled for Monday – thereby extending the marking period to Monday, Nov. 10 – and that all activities after 6 p.m. on Thursday were canceled.
“I feel the email we got saying tests and quizzes were cancelled made it an easy choice not to send [my son] to school on Friday,” said Dix Hills resident Nancy Kenigsberg, whose son is a senior at Hills East. “It’s almost as if they were telling us to keep our kids home.”
On Thursday, Hills East Principal Jeffrey Woodberry made an announcement to tell faculty and staff to check their emails, one student said. A few minutes later, she said, the emergency bell rang and everyone went outside to stand in the drizzle. She did not attend school on Friday.
Another student said that he did not know about the bomb threat either when he and his classmates were told to wait outside. The students were outside for about 20 minutes, he estimated.
“I knew it wasn’t just a fire drill because of the police,” he said.
He was not worried, he said, because the scenario was familiar: “The same thing happened at West a few weeks ago,” he said.
In an email to parents, Woodberry said that Monday, Nov. 10 would mark the start of several new policies: students can enter through the Main Entrance, the East Office Entrance or Senior Parking Lot entrance; all school doors will be locked at the start at the school day, “as per current practice;” visitors to the school can enter only through the Main Entrance and the East Office entrance and must show photo identification; students cannot leave the building during the school day without supervision of school staff and will not be allowed to walk outside between periods.
Woodberry on Monday said through his secretary that he had no comment on the threatening messages and school policies.