Longwood School District says it successfully fought gang label

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MIDDLE ISLAND -

Longwood School District says it got a clarification from the governor's office after it fought back from being labeled as a gang hotspot.

Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Long Island school superintendents to a news conference and announced 10 state troopers would be redeployed "to the 10 schools that we believe have the highest incidents of gang-related activity." 

The governor's list included Longwood Junior High School and Longwood High School. Parents in the district said they were shocked to be included. 

Longwood Superintendent Dr. Michael Lonergan said he was completely caught off guard by the governor's announcement. He said he and the other superintendents invited had no idea what the topic would even be. 

"There has never been gangs roaming the halls of the junior high school, or the senior high school at Longwood School district," said Dr. Lonergan. 

The Longwood School District received a clarification letter from the governor's office that states the selection of the schools for the gang prevention program was "primarily based on intelligence from law enforcement in communities adjacent to and surrounding the districts. Further, we acknowledge that neither the Longwood SHS nor the JHS experience gang activity in their buildings."

The Huntington superintendent also fought the governor's assessment and told News 12 that his school district is no longer included in the plan to put state troopers in any Huntington school.

Gov. Cuomo's office sent News 12 a statement that says in part, "State police will work with and augment existing local law enforcement ‎programs already in effect in schools on this anti-gang initiative."

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