ESM Adds Security, New Weapon Detectors After Racist Shooting Threat; the school will reopen on Tuesday
East Syracuse, NY — Students at East Syracuse Minoa High School will return to class Tuesday with heightened security as the district and police continue to investigate a threat of racial violence, the superintendent said Monday.
The high school switched to remote learning on Monday after a student received a text message saying “violence would be happening at school on Monday.”
A student received the threat – which included “racist sentiments” – and posted it on social media, according to the superintendent.
A text message sent shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday to a student shared with Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard threatened a high school shooting Monday targeting black students.
Similar racist shooting threats were also sent to students at Corcoran and Henninger High Schools in the city of Syracuse, police said.
In Syracuse, threats claimed the shooting would take place at 12:30 p.m. Monday, but no shooting took place, city police spokesman Lt. Matthew Malinowski said. Additional police were present at high schools across the city on Monday, he said.
Manlius Police Sgt. Kenneth Hatter said the threatening text message to ESM was sent just hours after the high school homecoming dance, where several fights broke out, some verbal and some physical. It is unclear if the fights and threats are related, police said.
No weapons were used, found or mentioned during the dance, police said. Hatter declined to comment on the details of the threat.
On Monday, as ESM students learned remotely, school officials worked quickly to increase safety when students returned to class on Tuesday, Superintendent Donna DeSiato said in a letter to students and parents. .
The district installed a new weapons detection system, known as EVOLV, at the high school’s main entrance on Monday, she said.
From Tuesday, all ESM students and visitors must enter the school through the main entrance where they will be greeted with the new weapons detection system.
“The EVOLV weapons detection system is more effective than a traditional metal detector,” DeSiato said. “The EVOLV system is one of many tools the district uses to continue to build capacity for a safe learning environment for students.”
ESM school officials, with assistance from the Manlius Police Department, also added two officers, DeSiato said.
“The district’s highest priority continues to be the well-being and safety of our students and staff,” DeSiato said.
Here is the letter the ESM Superintendent sent to parents and families on Monday:
Dear ESM parents and guardians,
As we’ve shared, we’ll continue to keep you informed with new and updated information related to last weekend’s events.
Regarding the threat of racial violence, superintendents of neighboring districts reported that a similar threat of racial violence had been sent to three other high schools in the past 24 hours. Manlius City Police continue to investigate the racial threat of violence anonymously texted to an ESM student and posted on social media. We will let you know as soon as new information becomes available.
In response to the improper actions involving fights at the homecoming dance, investigations were completed and appropriate disciplinary action was taken. We simply will not tolerate these behaviors as the safety of all students and staff is paramount.
Over the past few weeks, we have researched various systems to increase the security of our high school. Today, a new weapons detection system known as EVOLV was installed at the main entrance, and new entry procedures will be in place from tomorrow. The main entrance will be the single point of entry for all students and visitors. The EVOLV weapon detection system is more effective than a traditional metal detector. The EVOLV system is one of many tools the district uses to continue to build capacity for a safe learning environment for students. This system will expand our capabilities and strengthen our preventive measures in partnership with local law enforcement. Mr. Avellino will send information regarding Single Point of Entry procedures for tomorrow, later today.
Additionally, this month the district expanded its partnership with the Manlius City Police with the addition of two special patrol officers. Officer Todd Galarneau is at ESM High School and Officer Percy Clarke is at Pine Grove Middle School. These officers are available to assist with safety and security at all of our elementary schools.
The District’s highest priority continues to be the well-being and safety of our students and staff. The ESM School Board and our entire management team will continue to take additional safety measures for the well-being of all. Thank you for your continued support.
Dr. Donna DeSiato
Manlius Police are asking anyone with information about the threat to contact them at (315) 682-8673 or [email protected]