St. Francis Prep HS students evacuated after suspicious call

St. Francis Lewis Prep received a suspicious call that caused an evacuation Tuesday.
THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, but at least the kids are okay.

St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows went into lockdown and was subsequently evacuated Tuesday afternoon after the office received a suspicious phone call.

Although details of the call have yet to be confirmed, multiple students and staffers said that the caller had delivered a bomb threat to the school a little after 12:30 p.m. claiming that an explosive device was located somewhere in the building.

Upon the arrival of the NYPD, students were instructed to stay inside their classrooms in a procedure known as a soft lockdown — which is enacted upon the threat of an outside danger.

After cops performed an initial sweep of the building, students were evacuated so NYPD could thoroughly check each room. They were allowed back inside the facility after the building was determined to be safe around 45 minutes later.

St. Francis student Nico Alexsic said that the worst part was not knowing if there was any real danger to fear.

“It was pretty scary not knowing what was going on around you,” Alexsic said.

The caller so far remains anonymous.

Sources within the school revealed to The Courier that it is not known if the caller was an adult or a student at the school because the caller is thought to have used a computer program to disguise his or her voice.

In a letter posted to the school’s website, Principal Patrick McLaughlin assured the community that St. Francis remains a safe environment for staff, faculty and students.

“I thank the staff, faculty and administration for their leadership during these drills,” McLaughlin said. “I especially thank the students for their outstanding cooperation.”

The city as a whole also faced threats to school safety earlier in the day.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton publicly confirmed that the New York City School System received emailed threats of a terrorist attack Tuesday afternoon. Schools remained open citywide after the message was determined to be a hoax.

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