Social media posts prompt security boost at North High

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Social media posts prompt security boost at North High
Great Neck North High School is seen on a warmer fall day. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

An Instagram post referring to the start of spring sports season at Great Neck North High School on March 5 prompted an investigation last week, with some believing it could have been a school shooting threat, as well as increased security at the school.

According to an email sent out by Superintendent Teresa Prendergast, Assistant Superintendent Stephen Lando, and the principals of North High School and North Middle School, Nassau County police investigated the message and found “that there is no threat whatsoever.”

“They have actively investigated that initial report and all subsequent reports received today as provided by our District and our residents,” the email said. “All allegations are unsubstantiated.”

The Instagram message was not immediately available.

School officials said in the email that there would still be extra security measures on Monday. The Kings Point Police Department patrolled between North High School and North Middle School, while additional school security personnel were present.

“We will remain vigilant and proactive with regard to this and all matters of school safety,” the email said.

The heightened concern follows a mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people.

A student at Great Neck North High School, posting on the Great Neck Mommies Facebook group with over 4,000 members, said the post meant no harm.

“I understand that you can be worried or scared but this is just a rumor,” the student said to concerned parents on the Facebook group page. “The person just wanted to show his excitement for spring sports that are starting tomorrow; he was going to play lacrosse.”

“Because of the recent school shooting, students were just scared about what he was talking about,” the student added.

Parents also commented about an unrelated Snapchat message which initially appeared to refer to “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept,” an episode of “One Tree Hill” where there was a school shooting, although no parent in the Great Neck Mommies group provided an image.

The Nassau County police said there were no credible threats.

In a statement on Monday, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said law enforcement “has identified the source of a Snap Chat Post that caused alarm to multiple school districts today and is currently under investigation.”

Representatives from the Lake Success and Kings Point police departments said they would conduct extra patrols near the North and South schools.

“I know there’s a lot missing, but there’s enough for us to do extra protection and keep an eye on things,” Kings Point Police Commissioner George Banville said.

School officials reaffirmed at a Monday night board meeting, which dedicated more than three hours to public safety, that there were no credible threats and said the Great Neck schools have numerous security measures in place.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include information from Nassau County Police and a school board meeting on Monday night. The headline of this story was also changed from “Instagram post prompts increased security at North High” to “Social media posts prompt security boost at North High” to more accurately reflect the story. 

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