‘This is a safety hazard:’ Parents to demand answers at Riverhead school board meeting after third weapons arrest

On Monday, Riverhead police say they were notified about a knife that was confiscated from a student at the school.

News 12 Staff

Jun 13, 2023, 10:04 AM

Updated 377 days ago


Riverhead parents tell News 12 they plan to attend a scheduled board meeting tonight to address safety concerns after a third weapons arrest at the middle school.
This comes after parents received two notices from district officials over the past few days about weapons found at the middle school and students getting arrested. Parents say they want more steps taken to keep their children safe.
On Monday, Riverhead police say they were notified about a knife that was confiscated from a student at the school.
News 12 has been told a 13-year-old student was arrested. 
The superintendent says on Friday another pair of students were arrested after a BB gun and two knives were found.
Parents News 12 spoke to say they want assurances from school leaders that their children are safe in school.
"It's important for them to see and know that their parents are concerned, community members are concerned for these children, like this is a safety hazard, we send them to school to learn, to be in a safe environment," says Philnesia Miller, Riverhead.
The school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Riverhead High School. 
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tornatore tells News 12 they are planning enhancements at Riverhead schools for 2023-2024 school year, including remote access control to buildings, checkpoints for students with identification, door alarms and sensors and enhancements to security alert systems in all buildings.
Statement from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tornatore:
We appreciate that parents have concerns regarding the security and safety at our middle school and high school in light of recent events over the past months. Please be assured we take all these incidents very seriously. We have upcoming celebrations and other events taking place across our district as we head into the final weeks of the current school year. We are working with the Riverhead Town Police to provide additional coverage at our outdoor events. In an abundance of caution, we have moved some of our events indoors, like all of our moving up ceremonies. We are reiterating to our students the seriousness of this behavior, and that any student caught bringing a weapon of any kind onto school grounds will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This could mean police arrest and a police record, as well as suspension from school up to a year, which for our middle school and high school students, could have serious consequences on their future graduation plans.
We are looking at additional security measures we might implement for the start of the 23-24 school year in addition to those already part of our capital improvements. Based on our review of those measures and their appropriateness for our district, the Board will make a decision as to how we move forward. When those decisions are finalized, we will update the community to the fullest extent possible, keeping in mind that for security purposes, we cannot reveal all our protocols and practices.

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