WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Wantagh High School has banned backpacks and put other restrictions in place after school officials said a series of bomb threats were made against the school in recent weeks.
The new rules went into effect Tuesday and officials said they will remain in effect for the rest of the school year.
According to a letter from Superintendent of Schools Maureen Goldberg posted on the district’s website, no backpacks or large bags will be allowed inside the school.
In addition, all books and personal belongings must be kept in a clear bag and all bags will be checked as students enter the school in the morning and when returning to the building after lunch.
Restroom access will also be limited, Goldberg said. Students needing to use the bathroom will need to sign in and out, officials said.
Additional security cameras were also put in place.
Goldberg said so far, students have been cooperative with the new rules and that the increased security measures were executed smoothly.
“We are taking this situation very seriously and are working very closely with the Nassau County Police Department as they conduct their investigation,” Goldberg said in a statement. “The additional security protocol in place at the high school will remain in effect indefinitely.”
Students said they totally understand the precautions.
“You can never be too sure. You have to go thru these measures,” sophomore Nick Barberio told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.
Added parent Susan Cangelosi: “You have to have security. If you don’t you’re taking a chance something is going happen.”
The first incident happened back on May 1 when police said a threatening message was left on the wall of a boy’s bathroom. The high school and middle school were evacuated as a precaution as authorities investigated.
The second happened last Wednesday morning. Police said they were called when another message was found in a boy’s bathroom in the west wing of the school. The school was evacuated, but nothing was found, police said.
A day later, school officials said another message was found inside the high school after normal dismissal. Police were called again and searched the school. It was later determined to be safe, officials said.
As a result of the threats, students were ordered to clean out their lockers on Friday, which were then sealed. Goldberg said lockers will remain off-limits for the rest of the school year.
Meanwhile, Nassau County police and Crime Stoppers are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. They ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-(TIPS) 8477.
Goldberg is also urging parents to talk with their children about the threats, adding “if they have any information, they have a moral responsibility and a legal obligation to say something to the police or to a school official.”
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