Fears raised over school safety

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 5/11/22

The City of Newburgh Police Department has made an arrest of a 17 year-old Newburgh resident who, they believe, made a threat on May 2, targeting Newburgh Free Academy’s North Campus.

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Fears raised over school safety

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The City of Newburgh Police Department has made an arrest of a 17 year-old Newburgh resident who, they believe, made a threat on May 2, targeting Newburgh Free Academy’s North Campus.

The arrested individual, whose name will not be released due to his age, was charged with two Class D felonies, Making a Terroristic Threat and Falsely Reporting an Incident in the First Degree.

On May 2, NFA North campus students were evacuated. City of Newburgh Police Department [PD], New York State Troopers and Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb sniffing dogs were brought in and conducted a bomb assessment.

Officers completed their assessment and students re-entered the building with no incident. Officers also responded to a similar threat at Heritage Middle School with no reported incident. City officers along with other personnel from the Town of New Windsor and Town of Newburgh were posted at the various campuses throughout the day.

On Tuesday, April 26, a two-hour delay occurred due to racially charged threats that had circulated online and social media. NFA Main and South campuses were targeted. Threat photos displayed a weapon and the reasoning indicated bullying at school.

In response to the recent threats and violence, Newburgh parent Letitia Politi posted to her Facebook page on May 4, a link to a Change.org petition titled “Concerned Newburgh Free Academy Parents Demand Safety for Their Children.” The petition also references several articles released about the bomb threats to the district.

The petition has collected 587 signatures since its initial posting and the goal is to reach 1,000 signatures. Politi said she looks to bring the petition before the Newburgh Board of Education, building administrators and staff to address safety and security.

Newburgh parent Tane Gates shared that in October 2021, her son, who attended Newburgh Free Academy Main campus, was assaulted and pistol whipped by other students. Videos of the assault on Gates’s son circulated online and prompted an investigation by the police department and school district soon after. Gates said she is still seeking justice for her son, who is now homeschooled, and had already filed a lawsuit against the district.

Newburgh parent Anne Rodriguez said she signed the petition that Politi released on her Facebook and supports her efforts to raise awareness about the safety within the schools.

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