Saturday, February 09, 2013
By Maria Sawiris
On Wednesday, January 30th, Tech was evacuated after receiving reports of a bomb threat. All after school activities were cancelled, and students were instructed to go home while police officers swept through the building.
At the time, the administration did not inform the students of the true nature of the evacuation. In an attempt to keep order, the students were instead told the school was conducting a routine fire drill. News of the incident surfaced on Facebook before Tech could make an official statement on the school website.
Julienne Zhou ’14, a member of the track team who had to evacuate, said, “No one knew what was going on and why we were being evacuated until after we were all out of the building. When anyone asked a teacher or security guard about what was going on, they just told us to hurry up and leave the building, they didn’t tell us anything about a bomb threat.”
Students on sports teams who were practicing after school were prohibited from going to their lockers to retrieve their belongings, “The procedure was so messy, a lot of the track team either didn’t have their stuff at all because they were running outside, or only had some of their stuff,” Zhou explained. “A lot of my team members and I only had shorts and t-shirts on during the evacuation. No one had time to change into something warmer.”
Steven Guo ’14, also on the track team, was running outside and also had to go home without his belongings, “While I was running back to school Mr. Weiss stopped us and he told us that there was a lockdown, so we couldn’t go back inside.”
Students who were not carrying their belongings at the time of the evacuation received temporary cards that were good for two rides.
The NYPD cleared the school for occupancy at approximately 7:00pm, concluding that there was no bomb present in the building.
Many people were shocked by such an incident. Concetta Licitra, a Health and Physical Education teacher and Dean said, “I am disturbed by the fact that someone created such chaos and did not care that he/she significantly inconvenienced so many people. This individual is selfish and irresponsible.”
In light of recent school shootings, this incident draws many concerns in the minds of Tech students.
Samantha Remulla ’15 said, “At first I was really worried, more worried than a lot of other people, who I felt were taking the matter too lightly. A bomb threat is a serious issue. No one ever thinks something bad could happen in their own school, those things only happen on television, or to other people, but this whole thing kind of just put things in perspective … made me think about how easily something like all the shootings we hear about on the news can happen anywhere.
Other students expressed similar sentiments, Madonna Tadros ’16 said “I just kept questioning lots of things, and I was pretty scared. What if something like what happened in Connecticut happened to us?”
Maikel Kamel ’15 said, “I’m not overly concerned with this incident considering the safety precautions we take a Tech, but it’s a weird coincidence how it happens soon after such recent shootings.”
According to Tech’s website, there is an ongoing investigation to determine who delivered the anonymous tip.