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Timely: School bus concerns in NY

*Update with some perspective: This threat was made on April 1st – several days ago, with no incidents in the meantime. In addition, a story at Long Island Press notes that state officials are considering the possibility it was just a really irresponsible April Fool’s joke. Story at Long Island Press: here.

KW writes: If you are sending your children to school on the school bus, you should probably review this information. And, consider if you want to either provide alternate transportation until this blows over, and/or mention something to your children about watching out for strangers on the bus or at the bus stop. I would guess that schools will give more precautions and strategies.

A threat has been made against state office buildings, the state legislature, and school buses in New York. There is an article at Newsday.

Huntington School District has a post on their website: here, reprinted below:

Safety Announcement from the State Education Department

The Huntington School District has received e-mail notification from the New York State Education Department regarding important safety information. The e-mail, which is pasted below, indicates that certain members of the media and state officials have received e-mails that contain threats of violence against state office buildings, school buses and the state legislature.

Huntington principals and the transportation department have been sent this SED notification and Huntington Coach Corp. has been contacted. Be assured all of us are committed to doing everything possible to keep our school community safe.

State Education Department e-mail notification

Colleagues, On Friday, April 1, a threatening email was sent from an unknown email account to members of the media and various state officials. The email references threats of violence in state office buildings, against the state legislature and a specific reference to school buses.

The New York State Police, the State Office of Counter Terrorism, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other officials are devoting their resources to this matter and are working with other law enforcement agencies.

We encourage all those involved in school transportation to remain aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity as indicated below. As a reminder, all drivers and technicians should conduct pre trip and post trip inspections with the diligence they do each day but with an added sense of caution and urgency.

We encourage all drivers and attendants to be watchful for unknown individuals or any suspicious or unusual behavior along their routes or at bus stops as well as individuals approaching the school bus. Drivers should be particularly strict about unknown or unauthorized individuals attempting to board the school bus. School Transportation supervisors should be prepared to receive concerns from school bus drivers, attendants and technicians and assume all observations to be valid until proven otherwise.

School bus dispatchers should also be prepared and ready to receive such concerns from school bus drivers and to transmit those concerns or observations as appropriate to the school district.

If you or your transportation team witness or observe any behavior or individuals of concern or suspicion, you should report same by calling the state’s toll free hotline at 1-866-SAFENYS or 1-866-723 3697. Ken Slentz, Associate Commissioner, Office of District Services New York State Education Department Charles A. Szuberla, Jr., Assistant Commissioner, Office of School Operations New York State Education Department

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