Shortly after 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Niskayuna Police received a report of three people at River Road Park carrying what appeared to be a firearm. Two Niskayuna schools, nearby Rosendale Elementary and Iroquois Middle, were quickly placed into lockout. As it was near the end of the school day, police and school staff assisted with student dismissal.
“At Iroquois, there were about ten students in the building,” said Matt Leon, the district’s communication specialist. At Rosendale, students had already been dismissed for the day, but a Kids Time after-school program run by the JCC was still in operation.
“Police were on the grounds of both buildings, and there were staff to help dismiss students to parents,” Leon said.
An email alert from the school district was sent to families using an opt-in system. Facebook and the district web site were also used to spread the information. Leon said the district does have a phone-based alert system in place, but that it was not used for this particular emergency.
“Activating the emergency phone system is typically reserved for brief, schoolwide messages that require a change in routine,” such as an early closure due to snow, Leon said. In this case, routine was not interrupted. “Police had advised that parents could pick up students on their usual schedule.”
In addition, had the incident happened earlier, students would have been given a letter for parents about the situation. However, because of the small number of remaining students, “it was possible to have personal conversations with parents,” Leon said.
He also noted the lockout was a precaution, and was unable to confirm whether the initial report was accurate.
The district’s email to parents said police would continue to investigate the situation.
UPDATE: The Niskayuna Police have confirmed the weapon was actually a BB gun, and say the students are safe. More information here.
Last update: June 18, 2014 at 1:25 p.m.