School administrators met early Wednesday to evaluate and improve emergency procedures after Mamaroneck Schools called an early dismissal Tuesday.
The District’s approximately 5600 students at six area schools were released to parents and guardians after a murder suspect in Tarrytown was said to be seen in Mamaroneck.
But the District said it took the measures only in response to information it received from Mamaroneck Village Police that the suspect had a potential connection to the Larchmont Acres apartment complex on Richbell Road and Palmer Avenue, said District Spokesperson Debbie Manetta. Later, the District
The spokeswoman for Mamaroneck Village Police says the Department did not provide any such information to the District.
The gunman was wanted by Police and the FBI in connection with a fatal shooting at a garden apartment in Tarrytown around 7:00 am Tuesday.
Schools went into lock out in Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Ardsley and Elmsford in response to that shooting.
The suspect was later apprehended in New York City.
Parents and students in Larchmont and Mamaroneck say messages they received from the District were numerous, confusing, and created a chaotic end to the school day.
The first message, headed EMERGENCY CONTROLLED DISMISSAL, via email and text, and a robocall, received by parents at about 2:28 pm, said:
As a precaution right now due to a regional safety threat, we are asking that parents/guardians of Central School, Hommocks School, Murray Ave. School and Mamaroneck High School come pick up your children at school. We will be doing a controlled dismissal with police presence.
“The initial call, which identified only certain, specific schools in the district was terrifying,” one parent said. “Saying we have an emergency, police are at the schools and you have to come get your kids. It made it seem like something was happening at those schools.”
At Hommocks, one mother said she did not notice any safety procedures. “If safety of our children was a goal, they shouldn’t have flung open the doors to Hommocks and allowed hordes of adults stream in with out any scrutiny at all. And no police presence.”
The initial message was followed up at about 2:39 with a “REVISED EMERGENCY ANNOUNCEMENT” indicating there was “no immediate threat.” But by then, many parents said they were panicking.
“They should have said they wanted kids escorted home, instead of ‘come get them out of the school now’,” according to one parent.
A third message was sent adding two more schools, Chatsworth Avenue and Mamaroneck Avenue School to the emergency dismissal notice.
Students were to be released to parents or guardians that were previously registered as emergency contacts.
A Mamaroneck High School 10th grade girl said “the announcements were really scary.” A 10th grade boy says the measures put in place Tuesday made him “feel safe.”
The suspect, identified as Cynelle Brown, 28, was later arrested at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York as he tried to buy a ticket to Wilmington, Delaware, according to a Port Authority official. His gun was found in a trash can at an unknown location.
All afternoon and evening activities were cancelled for Tuesday, including a Board of Education meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening. It was postponed until Wednesday at 7 pm.