The Bethlehem Central School District briefly increased its security measures Friday, Nov. 13, due to what was perceived as a possible threat to students but turned out to be a miscommunication.
According to Bethlehem police, a parent of a Slingerlands student was involved in an altercation at work in the City of Albany the previous day, and school staff heard about the situation when the parent dropped the child off for school on Friday. Staff informed the principal, who in turn informed Superintendent Michael Tebbano.
"There was what we felt at the time was a legitimate concern to of our schools' safety," said Tebbano, who ordered all district schools to increase security measures.
Classes at elementary schools were held inside for recess and the front doors of schools were locked so people entering could be screened. Parents were alerted about the situation via the district's School News Network email and text message system.
By about 1 p.m., Bethlehem and Albany police had completed an investigation and schools returned to normal operation. Classes were not disrupted, and staff were instructed not to inform students of anything that could cause undue concern.
"It really was a miscommunication, no one was ever in any danger," said Lieutenant Thomas Heffernan of the Bethlehem Police Department. "It was really about a harassment that occurred in the City of AlbanyOnce everybody actually sat down and talked it was determined that there was no danger to students or faculty."
Tebbano said he was pleased that the district's notification system and security protocols were used effectively during the incident.
"In this day and age, you can't be chintzy with safety," he said. "We felt there was a credible situation that we needed to be concerned about."