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Vague Threats Yield Increased Police Patrols at Schools

Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays and East Quogue school officials say they have not received any direct or indirect threats.

While Suffolk County police have said rumors are circulating that schools may experience "disruptive incidents" on Friday, school officials in Westhampton, Hampton Bays and East Quogue said they have not received any threats.

"The Hampton Bays Union Free School District has not received any information related to threats regarding school safety - either specific or vague," said Lars Clemensen in an e-mail.

Mike Radday, superintendent of the Westhampton Beach School District also said his district also has not received threats and the same was stated by Robert Long, principal of the East Quogue School District.

However, all school officials said they are taking the safety of students very seriously by taking extra precautions and even holding a roundtable meeting earlier this week to discuss safety.

In addition, Clemensen said Southampton Town police are patrolling the district's elementary, middle and high school on a regular basis.

Sgt. Jim Cavanagh of the Southampton Police Department, confirmed that for the past week sector cars have not only been goign to Hampton Bays Schools, but all the schools within its jurisdiction from Bridgehampton to Eastport, as well as some that are not, including Westhampton Beach. 

"During every shift, patrol officers are conducting a walk through of the schools in their sector, including during after school and evening hours. If it's in our borders, we are patrolling," said Cavanagh, adding that the police department has not heard of any threats against area schools.

"We are taking security very seriously and keeping records of everything," he said.

Suffolk Police issued a statement Thursday saying it takes all threats of school violence seriously, and has increased patrols at schools with both marked and unmarked police cars.

"The Suffolk County Police Department has not received any credible information that there will be any type of disruptive incident at our schools," the department said. "However, we are continually monitoring this situation. The safety of the public, and especially the safety of our children, continues to be the main mission of the Suffolk County Police Department."

The rumors of disruptive incidents come a week after the death of 26 people, including 20 children, in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and three days after a 14-year-old Bayshore teen was arrested on a felony charge of making a terroristic threat against Bay Shore Middle School.

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, school officials in Westhampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue said they are confident in their emergency management and security protocols.

Families in at least one Long Island school district, the William Floyd School District, received automated telephone messages on Thursday about the threats. "Despite the vague nature of these threats, this security issue is not being taken lightly as the safety of students and staff are our top priority," that school district said in a statement.

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