Bomb Scare Empties Far Rockaway School
By Howard Schwach
An anonymous call spurred an evacuation of a Far Rockaway middle school Tuesday morning, sending all of the students into the chill for several hours.
The students and staff of Middle School 53 on Nameoke Street in Far Rockaway were driven into neighborhood streets at about 8:50 a.m. by the call.
Officials at the school quickly made the decision to take the threat seriously and evacuate the building, says Margie Feinberg, a spokesperson for the Department of Education.
"The school made the right decision to call 911 and have both the police department and the fire department respond," Feinberg said.
While firefighters stood by in case of an emergency, police officers from the 101 Precinct and the elite Emergency Services Unit (ESU) searched the building for suspicious packages.
After more than two hours, the all-clear was sounded.
"The building was evacuated as a precaution, but nothing was found," Feinberg said. "The students were all safely returned to the building."
A number of neighborhood parents, however, came to take their children home while they were still outside the building, creating some attendance-taking problems for school officials.
At least two parents complained to The Wave that they should have been notified by the school that there was a search going on, but school officials say that it would have been impractical to attempt that notification while they were outside the building.
Long-time staffers at the building say that bomb scares were once a common occurrence in the middle school, but that this is the first in recent years.