The students returning to Suffern High have had a stressful first month, punctuated by two seperate false reports of attacks against the school.
On September 21, the Ramapo Police Department (RPD) was notified of a security threat involving explosives at Suffern Senior High.
As the Suffern Central School District initiated its evacuation protocol, the RPD launched a coordinated response led by the RPD K9 Unit Supervisor in collaboration with the Ramapo police officer assigned as the Suffern High School SRO.
The department received explosive detection canine support from law enforcement partners including the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Police, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Their response was complemented by the support of the Tallman Fire Department, Faist Ambulance, Rockland Paramedics, and the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad.
After a search of the school building and premises, no explosive devices were discovered and the district administration deemed it safe to reopen the school to both faculty and students.
A day after the incident, on the morning September 22, the Ramapo PD was informed of a phone call received by Suffern High School warning of a chlorine gas leak/device at that location, necessitating a similar emergency response.
A search was conducted which yielded no such leak or device. The Ramapo PD Investigations Division along with their School Resource Officer have been investigating the source of the anonymous notifications, and on September 26, 2023, the RPD arrested a juvenile for Falsely Reporting an Incident 1st Degree, a Class D Felony, in connection to the reports of a chemical attack. Due to the age of the suspect, the case will be heard in the Rockland County Family Court.
In regard to the bomb threat that was received a day earlier, the Ramapo PD is continuing its investigation into the source of the false notification and are cooperating with Federal law enforcement.
The Ramapo Police Department expressed its gratitude to the students, parents, faculty, staff, and their emergency services partners for their cooperation and support during both incidents.