‘White powder’ scare clears Bayside High

Thousands of teens were evacuated from Bayside High School (BHS) shortly after noon on Wednesday, March 26 after a lab technician received a package that contained a suspicious white powder.
Shortly after 10 a.m., according to a police source, “The package was received and opened by a science department technician who found that it contained a white powder.” “When the technician came into contact with the contents, they reacted to it, complaining of itching,” the source said.
Under emergency procedures established after a series of Anthrax attacks-by-mail and white powder scares which followed 9/11, the school located at 32-24 Corporal Kennedy Street in Bayside was put under lock-down - students were confined to their classrooms until the danger could be evaluated, and emergency responders notified.
Within minutes, the streets around the school were flooded with vehicles from an alphabet soup of agencies including the New York Police Department (NYPD), Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sent their Emergency Services Units (ESU) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulances stood by.
After determining that the danger was contained to the single room, authorities ordered students out of the school at about 12:30 p.m. while the investigation continued.
The delay in evacuating the building caused some distress among students.
“First [BHS Principal Judith] Tarlo got on the public address system and said they found a ‘weird’ powder in a box,” said Melissa Bartolotta, a senior from Whitestone. Standing next to her across the street from the scene, freshman Ariel Alexander of Jamaica said, “At first they were afraid it was Anthrax.”
The pair agreed that they felt anxious as they “just sat in class” for over two hours before being allowed to leave the building.
The entire incident proved to be a false alarm.
According to a police source, “The package was a proper delivery. It contained fertilizer which had been ordered by some students for a project.”
One ESU member said, “It’s gratifying to see this good a response in just a few minutes.” adding, “Better safe than sorry.”

More from Around New York