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Hen Hud Schools Chief Explains Cortlandt District's Response To Threats

Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter of the Hendrick Hudson School District.
Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter of the Hendrick Hudson School District. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hendrick Hudson

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- It was a long week for the Hendrick Hudson School District that saw two schools placed on lockdown over two consecutive days.

In a letter posted on the district's website, Sbools Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter laid out what happened on Tuesday, Oct. 28 and Wednesday, Oct. 29, that caused Hendrick Hudson High School and nearby Frank G. Lindsey Elementary School to be placed on lockdown.

On Tuesday morning, employees found a broken window and a missing computer at the high school and asked for the community's assistance, Hochreiter said.

That afternoon, the district received two phone calls, with one of the callers making threats. State troopers recommended the school be placed under lockdown, Hochreiter said.

"We have been asked by the state police to keep the specifics of the incident confidential so as not to hinder the investigation," Hochreiter said.

On Wednesday, someone called the high school and made threats. After the call, Principal James Mackin ordered an immediate lockdown and called police, Hochreiter said.

Students were evacuated to the gym where they stayed until the school was dismissed at 4 p.m. on a school bus, Hochreiter said.

Hochreiter said updates online were deemed the most efficient way to get information out to parents. 

"Our aim is to control the flow of information and be as precise as possible," Hochreiter said. "Families were notified by our emergency phone program at the beginning of the lockdown and in the evening after the lockdown was over."

Due to budget cuts, Hochreiter said it was fiscally impossible to have a school resource officer at the high school.

Hochreiter said Hendrick Hudson High School is a "very safe place to be."

"We continue to use a single point of entry, surveillance cameras, and other security measures to maintain a high level of security," Hochreiter said. "The best prevention is always the human element. If students or staff should hear or see something they need to report it immediately to the administrative offices."

State Police are requesting that anyone with information regarding  contact the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation from the Cortlandt Barracks at 914-769-2600. Calls can remain anonymous.

Uniformed troopers remained at Hendrick Hudson High School on Friday, Oct. 31.

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