Prank 911 call locks down Park Terrace Elementary

Local law enforcement and emergency services blocked the entrance to Park Terrace Elementary School in Gloversville on Thursday around 11 a.m. while the school was on lockdown. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Park Terrace Elementary School was placed on lockdown for over an hour on Thursday morning after a phone call was made to 911 from a classroom in the building.

The Gloversville Police Department initiated the lockdown procedure at 10:05 a.m. and area law enforcement agencies immediately responded to the school to secure the building, according to a statement issued on the Gloversville Enlarged School District website.

Each classroom was cleared by police in accordance with protocol and the lockdown was lifted at 11:20 a.m. with police reportedly concluding that the 911 call was a prank.

“School administration and law enforcement are confident that it was a prank phone call from an empty classroom, and that all students and staff in the building are safe,” the district’s statement reads.

The district reported the lockdown of Park Terrace to parents before the procedure was lifted through a robocall around 11 a.m. that included information on the procedure’s initiation due to the 911 call from a classroom.

Several Park Terrace parents made their way to the school on Thursday, parking along the side of the road on Bloomingdale Avenue seeking information, including Alicia Bailey and Amanda Savage, who said they received word of the lockdown from a relative who heard people talking about it at a Stewart’s Shop before both women received the robocall from the school district.

Bailey and Savage said they tried to call the school for information, but there was no answer and police on the scene who were blocking off the school driveway, were unable to provide any information about what was happening inside of the building.

Although the robocall reported that there was not believed to be any threat and classrooms were being individually searched as a precaution, Bailey and the other parents anxiously waited just off of school grounds for the lockdown to be lifted, exchanging the limited information they had and rumors they had heard about what led to the 911 call and lockdown.

“It is a big deal,” Bailey said. “Look at all of the people showing up.”

In a release issued after 3 p.m. on Thursday, city police provided additional information on what was described as a “hang up” call to 911 received by Fulton County Dispatch from a landline phone at Park Terrace in which a juvenile male stated that someone in the school was “trying to kill him.”

Following a room to room search by law enforcement in conjunction with the Gloversville Enlarged School District school safety officer and Gloversville Police Department school resource officer, police determined the call to be a “prank” and concluded that there was no legitimate threat to students at Park Terrace.

Police were unable to locate the initial caller or a suspect during the search of the school and will continue to investigate the incident.

“Members of the Gloversville Police Department Detective Division are working closely with members of the Gloversville Enlarged School District to attempt to identify the juvenile male responsible for making the 911 call,” the release states.

Responders to Park Terrace on Thursday included the Gloversville Police Department, state police, the Johnstown Police Department, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, the Gloversville Fire Department and the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

By Patricia Older

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