Quogue Village Police responded to Quogue School last week, when it was closed for spring break, after an anonymous letter mailed to a Long Island newspaper stated that a bomb had been left inside the building.
Police said they spent more than four hours last Thursday, March 28, thoroughly searching the Edgewood Road school with the assistance of three New York State Police officers and two explosive-detecting K-9s, and did not find any explosives. The school, which serves students from kindergarten through grade 6, was unoccupied at the time of the threat and the ensuing search. The school reopened on Tuesday, April 2.
The event marked the second time in the past two months that the school has received an anonymous threat, according to authorities. On February 8, an anonymous envelope containing a granular, “non noxious” substance and a threatening note was delivered to the building while school was in session.
Quogue Police Lieutenant Chris Isola on Wednesday morning would not reveal what was stated in the note, other than to say it did not target any specific individual at the school. He also would not share any details about the substance found with it.
He added that the police department did not publicize the earlier threat until this week, but declined to explain the reasoning behind that decision.
“At no time was there any obvious or apparent threat to anybody at the school, although we responded as if it were real because we didn’t know,” Lt. Isola said, referring to last week’s bomb threat.
He added that if a suspect were to be charged for either threat, the individual could face any number of charges, including aggravated harassment, making a terroristic threat and filing a false report.
On Tuesday, School Superintendent Richard Benson said he and police department officials met with parents that morning to discuss safety precautions the district is taking in response to the threats. “Everything is quiet,” he said later that afternoon.
One parent, who did not want to be identified, said he and others were upset that school officials never alerted parents about the February threat.
The Long Island Press, which has offices in Syosset, reported receiving an empty white envelope with no return address in the mail on the morning of March 28. The envelope contained the following message written in black ink inside the flap: “I left my bomb at Quogue School on Edgewood Rd.” The sender also drew a small smiley face with fangs.
The letter was reportedly postmarked on both March 25 and 26, according to the newspaper. Lt. Isola said investigators were working to determine where the letter originated.
Quogue Police said the editor of the paper called to report the threat at 11:14 a.m. on March 28. Nassau County Police and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, made up of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, also are investigating the most recent incident.
Lt. Isola said he could not share additional details or a description of the envelope that the school received in February.
“The general message to the parents—independent of any type of letter or threat—is to be vigilant of the school and the school grounds,” he said. “We have a police presence at our school 180 days a year, and that isn’t going to change.”