The news site of Wantagh High School.

The Warrior

The news site of Wantagh High School.

The Warrior

The news site of Wantagh High School.

The Warrior


Will You Be Streaming "The Tortured Poets Department"?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Evacuations Lead to May Measures


By Jaclyn Weiner

Bomb threats. Evacuations. Police presence. Concerned parents. Annoyed students. This is what the Wantagh community has had to deal with in the month of May. Threats were found written in a boys’ bathroom, May 1. Twice the school was evacuated. The first time a threat was found, nearly every student and faculty member walked over the footbridge to Forest Lake Elementary School. Many students were satisfied with the way the first evacuation was handled. “I thought it was relatively organized; it was hard to think of a method that would have been foolproof, but I thought once we got there, it was organized as a system developed,” said one Wantagh High School senior.

Other students were not nearly as satisfied. Junior Julia Petrini felt the initial moments of the first evacuation created cramped conditions in a small gym. Forest Lake Principal Anthony Ciuffo worked tirelessly to remedy that initial problem and spread the nearly 1,200 high school students out in empty classrooms, amidst a full building of elementary students. Parents came to the school to sign out their children. Those who weren’t signed out were given lunch. Middle school students and a few high school students were evacuated to St. Francis Church. The Nassau County police suggested this course of action and conducted a thorough search that included bomb-sniffing dogs.

In a second May incident, another threat was found in same boys’ bathroom across from English classrooms.

“I had heard murmurings earlier in the second day about the second threat, and I just remember thinking, ‘this cannot be happening again,’” said one senior. Students were evacuated to the football field where they stayed for about an hour. “I think, unfortunately, we are getting better at this,” said Wantagh High School Principal Mrs. Breivogel. “When it happens for real and you go through the exercise, you learn what worked and what didn’t work and try to do it better the next time.”

In the third May incident, a threat was found when a custodian opened up a toilet paper holder, but school was over and there was limited disruption to student activities. Lockers were cleaned out following this incident in the event of another threat, which would expedite the police effort to search the building.

As a result further security measures were taken to ensure the safety of the students. Bathroom rules became stricter, students were required to use clear, plastic bags to hold their belongings, and cameras were installed. “Maybe this is just the senior with no school supplies in me talking, but I really don’t have a problem with what’s happening,” said one senior. “I think it’s necessary at this point, and whether or not it’s effective, it should at least deter another incident.”

Whether for or against these precautions, they are to remain through June. “We are going to utilize these precautions for the remainder of this year, but we don’t know about the future,” said Mrs. Breivogel. “We will assess and see what worked.”

Throughout all these incidents, social media has played a huge role. Many students were commenting on the threats and safety measures the school is taking via twitter. Some students were critical. “The…prison system just enlisted Wantagh High School,” tweeted one high school senior. “Wantagh: where a bunch of…kids write bomb threats to get out of school,” read another tweet. Many students were supportive. “If you think Wantagh is “the ghetto” because administration and the police have acted to keep everyone in the school safe, just stop,” said another high school senior, referring to the complaints of other students.

The incidents in Wantagh have made national news. Superintendent Mrs. Goldberg, was even asked to appear on The Today Show, but she declined the offer.

“The news stations have been blowing the situation out of proportion and are overdramatizing,” said senior Shannon Auletta.
“News stations haven’t been on the property,” said Mrs. Breivogel. “We have made the news. It’s a distraction. We want to get on doing what we have to do.”

Even with all the chaos, students still seem to feel safe. “I was a little on edge during the first evacuation, but I wouldn’t say I was terrified,” said one senior.

“I never felt unsafe because I know none of these threats are serious,” said Petrini.

“We set the stage for safety,” said Mrs. Breivogel. “We increased security, installed cameras. We took every action to make sure that everyone is safe. People are going to school and work and business as usual but we are being proactive.”

Wantagh is starting to move on from the May incidents. “I have never been more proud of our students than I have been in the past month,” said Mrs. Breivogel. “We handled it well and we’ll pick up our heads and end the year strong. Mrs. Goldberg has been a wonderful support system for students, staff, parents, and administrators.”

School, after school activities, senior celebrations, and events are to be held, as planned. There is a $5000 reward put up by the Nassau County Police for any information on the student or students behind these threats. But thus far no arrests have been made. Though, police have increased their presence at the high school.