State and federal authorities are dealing with an apparent terrorist threat against New York State institutions that made a reference to attacking school buses, authorities confirmed.
The threatening email, received by state officials on April 1, was released to Long Island school districts Tuesday. The email makes specific threats of violence to state office buildings, the state Legislature and school buses.
In response, Sayville Superintendent Dr. Walter Schartner stresses that no threats were made directly toward the Sayville School District. “This is an alert. No threats were made directly to this school district but caution, vigilance, and reporting of any suspicious behavior is always a good thing,” he said.
Suffolk Transportation, the company that provides the buses for the Sayville School District, is aware of this notice, as is the Suffolk County Police Department.
“We always enforce safety precautions here,” said Mike D., Master Instructor and Director of Training for Suffolk Transportation. “You have to always be vigilant. All of our operators are required to go to classes twice a year and terror alerts and threats are discussed. All of our drivers always do pre and post trip inspections – this has not changed because of the treat.”
All New York State schools received the following notice from the State Education Department on Tuesday.
“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 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. 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.
UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) – State Office of Counter Terrorism (www.security.state.ny.us), released this statement. "Although law enforcement authorities are treating this threat seriously and continue to investigate, they are not considering this a credible threat at this time."