Bethlehem Central High School
BETHLEHEM A former student has been held responsible for trespassing on Bethlehem High School property yesterday as a prank, according to police.
The school was briefly placed under lockdown the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 24, after school officials received word of a trespasser on school grounds claiming to be a transfer student.
District spokesman Bill DeVoe said staff notified Principal Scott Landry that a person who appeared to be a teenager had gained access to the school by claiming to be an exchange student. The person than left school property as police and staff were sweeping the building.
"We followed the procedures in place by the district to prevent such incidents," said DeVoe. "We are cooperating fully with the police and will remain vigilant to protect the safety of our students."
Bethlehem police Lt. Tom Heffernan said an 18-year-old girl from Glenmont, who graduated with the class of 2012, was found to be the trespasser. She was cooperative with police and said the incident was a prank. Police said she attended two classes before a hall monitor recognized her and reported her presence to the administration.
Students stayed in classrooms for approximately 15 minutes to ensure their safety in between classes as Bethlehem police and school staff tried to locate the individual.
The district opted to press charges against the girl, who was charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. Heffernan said the name of the girl is not being released because she was issued an appearance ticket and is eligible for youthful offender status.
"Although the school's resource officer at the time was not present because of a scheduled training session, this incident is another example of the importance in having an officer in school buildings at all times as a means to build relationships with students," said Heffernan.
The school district had no further comment concerning the incident.