Parents of students at John F. Kennedy Middle School have turned to social media to voice their concerns after some heard local media reports about the threats. The threatening messages were found at the School Street Playground, which is directly adjacent to the athletic fields of John F. Kennedy Middle School on Jayne Blvd. The graffiti, which appeared to be written in marker, referenced a bomb and said “kill JFK school kids.”
Suffolk County police officers responded to the playground at 2:39 p.m. on Tuesday. “Threats were made to JFK students,” a police spokesperson said. The messages were “not specific” and did not contain dates or times, according to police.
School officials said JFK Middle School Principal Michael Fama noticed the threats, took pictures, and called police. Concerned parents turned to a popular Facebook group to express their concerns, including parents who said their children heard about the threat on the school bus and began to cry. Others said they were scared and losing sleep. However, several parents dismissed the threat and praised the district’s quick response.
Comsewogue School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Rella said in an email that Suffolk Police were handling the incident. He did not elaborate. In a Facebook post, Board of Education Vice President Lance Brown said “If at any point the police, the administration, or anyone with any authority felt that for one second anyone was in danger, action would have been taken, that is a fact! My children attend JFK and I am absolutely convinced they are safe.”
Police said Crime Section officers have an ongoing investigation and believe the graffiti was written with permanent markers. “The markings were not fresh so police believe the threats were made several days ago,” a department spokesperson said.
The playground is under the jurisdiction of the Town of Brookhaven and is not on school property. Police said the Town Parks Department was notified Tuesday. Town of Brookhaven spokesman Jack Krieger could not immediately comment on the incident.