At approximately 9:45 a.m. on March 9, Rye High School and Middle School were evacuated due to a bomb threat, the fourth such incident since October.
By Tom McDermott
At approximately 9:45 a.m. on March 9, Rye High School and Middle School were evacuated due to a bomb threat, the fourth such incident since October. Minutes later, a Rye Police unit could be seen speeding south on the Post Road towards the schools; it was followed shortly by other patrol units, detectives, and Rye Fire Department.
Just after 10 a.m. a Westchester County Emergency vehicle arrived at the scene, followed by the County’s Special Operations and two K-9 vehicles.
According to Rye Police Commissioner William Pease who was on the scene, the threat was made by a message written on a boys’ lavatory wall that was reportedly discovered by a custodian. This is the same method and room used in the October threat – the other two came via email. Pease confirmed that there was a camera in the lavatory, and said, “I hope that we catch a break on this one.”
Students streamed out of the schools in orderly fashion, with many crossing Parsons Street to the Rye Presbyterian Church parking areas. The church’s nursery school was in session and those students were kept safe inside the building for the duration of the scare.
Under other circumstances, the teenage students may have been able to enjoy the rare pleasant weather, but soon they were evacuated further away, to Midland and Osborn schools.
Rye School Superintendant Dr. Frank Alvarez and High School Principal Patricia Taylor could be seen outside high school’s entrance conferring Rye and County police and RFD’s Lt. Kurt Tietjen.
By 11:31 a.m. the Special Operations and K-9 search of the premises ended and school personnel, who had been waiting in the sun across the street, began returning to the schools.
Later in the day, in a letter to parents, Dr. Alvarez stated he understands “parents and guardians are frustrated and concerned by these continued threats. We want you to know the Westchester County Police have reached out to the FBI and the High Tech Crime Bureau in the Assistant District Attorney’s office is engaged in the investigation into the threats.” He added, “the School District has been asked by law enforcement not to reveal details that might hamper their investigation.”