A message from Superintendent Larry Leaven regarding Monday’s evacuation

Dear parents, students and members of the Florida community,

This has certainly been a challenging week. The dual threat evacuation that took place on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, at the S.S Seward Institute was an experience that we never want to repeat. The emotional toll on our students, staff, parents and broader community was indescribable. No child, no adult, no one should ever feel such fear or experience such uncertainty in our schools. I want to again thank our students and staff for responding in ways that ensured a safe and timely evacuation. While we may be able to plan for such events, nothing can actually prepare us for what each of us experienced.

We have kept in close contact with the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations throughout the investigation. While the investigation is ongoing, which significantly limits what information we legally can and cannot share, we are able to share the following:

  • the calls that initiated the lockdown were made by someone out of state
  • there is no credible threat to our schools or our community
  • the safety of students and staff is paramount
  • a comprehensive assessment of the dual evacuation will take place with local law enforcement agencies in the coming days
  • 100% verified by law enforcement that those involved do not present a future threat

Investigator Robert Baird, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, will continue to work the case. Should you have information that you believe might be helpful, please contact him directly at 845-782-8311.

As you continue to process this experience with your child, and should you need support from any of us here at the school, please reach out. We appreciate your ongoing trust and support.

Have a relaxing, safe and healthy weekend!

Larry J. Leaven, superintendent