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South Country superintendent updates community on threat made to Bellport High School

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A 16-year-old student of Bellport High School was arrested today for threatening to conduct a “mass shooting” at the school on social media.

Superintendent Joseph Giani of South Country Central School District notified the community on May 26 of a post circulating online that read “bellport mass shooting tmr? shhh 🙂.”

Suffolk County police were notified immediately and conducted an investigation, the district said.

Today, the district sent out another letter that said the SCPD arrested the student and deemed the threat “not to be credible.”

They also reported no weapons were found in the student’s home.

The teen is charged with making a terroristic threat and aggravated harassment, Suffolk police said. He’s set to be arraigned at the First District Court in Central Islip on May 27.

In addition to the arrest, the school district said the student will receive the appropriate disciplinary consequence in accordance with their code of conduct.

This social media threat happened just days after an 18-year-old murdered 19 children, killed two teachers and injured 17 others at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24.

The massacre is the second deadliest shooting at an elementary, middle school, or high school in U.S. history, behind the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Many Long Island school districts and local law enforcement responded to the mass shooting in Texas by bumping up security and police presence at schools this week.

When made aware of the threat, the South Country Central School District said police stationed themselves at the high school and bag checks were conducted at both Bellport High School and Bellport Middle School.

Giani said in the recent letter that schools will reopen for students and staff on May 31 and operate on a modified lockout.

Classroom doors will remain closed at all times and the school will continue to properly screen all visitors who enter the main lobby.

Exterior doors will be checked throughout the day to make sure they are closed and locked.

“The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our highest priority, and steps are taken every
day to ensure that everyone in our schools are safe,” said Giani in the letter. “While we continue to review our security protocols, we will also continue to emphasize the importance of the social and emotional wellbeing of our students.”

The full letter is below:

Earlier today, the District learned that Suffolk County Police Department arrested a 16-year old Bellport High School student in connection with the recent social media post, which stated “bellport mass shooting tmr? shhh 🙂.” Suffolk County Police Department determined the threat not to be credible, and indicated no weapons were found in the home. The District will continue to cooperate fully with Suffolk County Police Department in this investigation. In addition to the arrest, the student will also receive the appropriate disciplinary consequence in accordance with the District’s Code of Conduct.

Schools will reopen for students and staff on Tuesday, May 31st. At that time, all schools will continue to operate on a modified lockout and classroom doors remain closed at all times. We will continue to follow our procedures for essential visitors to enter the building. All visitors will continue to enter through the main lobby in order to be screened appropriately. As usual, exterior doors will be checked throughout the day to ensure that they are closed and locked.

The safety of our students, faculty and staff are our highest priority, and steps are taken every day to ensure that everyone in our schools are safe. While we continue to review our security protocols, we will also continue to emphasize the importance of the social and emotional wellbeing of our students. If you feel that your child needs special assistance and/or you feel that you need guidance with how to best approach this situation with your child, administration and our counseling staff is available to provide support and assistance. Simply reach out to your school’s principal to be connected to support staff if need be.

  • Bellport HS, Erika Della Rosa 631-730-1575
  • Bellport MS, Dr. Jamal Colson 631- 730-1626
  • Frank p. Long Intermediate, Stefanie Rucinski 631-730-1725
  • Brookhaven Elementary, Dr. Rebecca Raymond 631-730-1700
  • Kreamer Elementary, Sean Clark 631-730-1650
  • Verne W. Critz Elementary, Mandy Mazziotti 631-730-1675
  • South Haven Early Childhood Center, Brian Ginty 631-730-2182

Thank you for your cooperation and continued support.

Sincerely,
Joseph Giani, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Top: Exterior of Bellport High School. (Credit: Google Maps)