Man in Zorro Mask Enters Jefferson School: "I'm Here to Protect the Children"

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Zorro maskNEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle Police were called to Jefferson School after a man wearing a "Zorro mask" entered the building and, according to the NRPD scanner, declared "I'm here to protect the children".

The man, known to the school, walked into the school through the main entrance and was stopped by security. He was described by police as "stocky", about 5' 6" and wearing "some kind of zorro mask".

School Security Director Bruce Daniele was called and Daniele called police, according to New Rochelle police.

The response was not consistent with the proposed building-level plans recently promulgated by district officials to cover up the fact that the current plans were adopted by the board and 2001 and have not been updated since.

The Jefferson School Plan (draft/proposed) contains a section on what to do in such an event.

INTRUDER-DANGEROUS PERSON IN AREA—LOCKDOWN/LOCKOUT

An intruder or dangerous person has entered the building Call 911 immediately. Provide as much information as possible about the threat to law enforcement. Notify the Principal’s office. Issue a plain language Lockdown announcement over the PA system: “We are in a lockdown.” Teachers then follow lockdown procedures:

- Pull in any students from hallway, lock doors, turn lights off and move students to a section of the classroom out of line-of-sight of the window in the door.
- Leave window shades to the outside up
- Inform students of lockdown procedures including no use of cell phones or computers and remaining quiet.
- Take student attendance.

Security staff needs to be positioned behind locked doors as well. Staff and students outside at the time of the lockdown must not return to the building, but should immediately proceed to the designated “safe area” away from the school building. Principal or designee notifies Superintendent’s Office. Building remains in lockdown until law enforcement and principal determine that it is safe to resume school activities. Police and school administrators will go to each classroom to issue the “all clear” signal room-by-room (not over the PA system). After the incident is resolved, the Building Safety Team will debrief and consult with the Superintendent’s Office to determine appropriate communication to staff, students, and parents. CIT will be convened and a faculty meeting will be held after the debriefing at the end of the school day, if possible. All media requests will be forwarded to the District Communications & Media Specialist.

911 was not called immediately, no lockdown announcement was made and the school did not go on lockdown. At about the same time, all Mamaroneck schools were on lockdown.

The area around the school was searched and the subject was caught in the Costco parking lot. Police detained the man, interviewed him and released him.

Police said the man said wanted to be a super hero and protect the kids and was asking to volunteer at the school.

UPDATE 1/5/13 5:00 PM

JEFFERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
131 WEYMAN AVENUE
NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK I 0805
(914) 576-4430; Fax : (914) 576-4631

January 4, 2013

Dear Parents,

With the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut weighing heavily on everyone's hearts and minds, the City School District ofNew Rochelle is reviewing each school's safety plans and procedures. At Jefferson Elementary School, on a daily basis, we continue to reflect upon and improve our safety practices and procedures. We take every situation seriously and work closely with the District Director of Security and the New Rochelle Police.

There are many rumors and reports with erroneous information regarding an incident that took place on Thursday, January 3, 2013. A young man wearing a mask did enter the building through the main entrance. He was immediately approached by our security officer. He removed his mask and requested to see the principal to discuss volunteer work. The young man appropriately responded to questions . He was asked to leave and quietly went on his way. He did not create a scene or a situation where the school needed to be in lock down or lock out. At no point did he endanger or come near children. To take precautionary measures, Mr. Danielle, the Director of Security and the New Rochelle Police were contacted.

If and when we have emergencies, the school will go into either lock down or lock out and parents will be contacted through automated calls. The district is in the process of developing a plan for all schools to have an electrical buzzer entry at main entrances.

On Thursday, January 10, 2013, the Jefferson PTA will begin their monthly meeting at 3:30 in the auditorium. At 4:00PM, the Jefferson Administration and Members from the Jefferson Safety Team will present safety practices and procedures. Please join us for more detailed information. If you are unable to attend our PTA meeting, we will post our presentation on our website. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at (914)576-4430 or my email knieves@nred.org.

As we move forward, we will continue to keep safety a priority at Jefferson.

Sincerely,
Kimmerly Nieves
Principal

Similar information was, apparently, provided to News12.

News 12 Reporter Lisa Reyes filed a report on the incident at Hommocks School in Mamaroneck and the Jefferson "Zorro" incident.

http://westchester.news12.com/news/new-rochelle-school-on-alert-after-th...

The Jefferson letter to parents and the News 12 reporter contained accurate facts, assembled in a way to significantly mislead parents and viewers.

First, although Security Director Bruce Daniele did call New Rochelle Police to report "Zorro" as a "suspicious person" school officials at Jefferson did not.

Second, Daniele reported a "suspicion person". That matters. The newly released building-level security plans have a page which details the response to a "suspicion person" (above). That plan was not followed. Instead, rather than call 911 and put the school on lockdown, as required under the School Safety Plan, the Principal brought the person into her office and met with him before asking him to leave. Daniele was contacted well after "Zorro" entered the school and after he left the building.

Third, although the district did deliver an automated phone message to parents they only did so the following day after parents and staff learned of the incident from Talk of the Sound. The policy is to inform parents immediately.

The simple fact is this classic CYA by the district who, once again, failed to follow their own safety plan.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Anonymous on Sun, 01/06/2013 - 02:43

If not for the media, we were not going to be told what occurred at Jefferson Elementary !!! How dare the school principal and so called security staff make a stupid decision that put our children's safety at RISK, especially after the Sandy Hook Tragedy !! The individual who entered wearing the zorro mask should have immediately been escorted out of the building, with force if necessary, school then should have gone into "lockdown" and 911 called !!! Apparently, the principal, security and all staff at Jefferson require immediate training on how to properly handle situations involving threat to our children. I am no longer secure that my child will be safe while at Jefferson. As well, we, parents were lied to, robo-calls only went out the following day after parents either called school or went in person upset and angry because we were not notified. Funny, though that we always seem to receive those PTA calls ???

Anonymous on Fri, 01/04/2013 - 19:22
Title: "Masked Man"

I spoke with the school principal personally this morning and was relieved to find out that he was NOT wearing a mask when she spoke to the young man (who looked to be mentally challenged and "odd") at the security desk. He asked to volunteer for the school and the principal told him he needed to go to City Hall and he left without incident. Once he left she called the police immediately. Security was told that the young man was found and interviewed and did not pose a threat to the school or anyone in it. There was a robo call that went out this morning describing what happened. Not that it helped ease the minds of all parents, but if there was a REAL issue, we would have gotten a robo call yesterday. We are a strong family community here at Jefferson, and the staff would have let us know if there was any need for concern. A lot has been happening in the news in an around our schools and it concerns me on a daily basis. I try to keep a level head and not jump to conclusions. Our children do not need any added stress, they are too young for this! Something needs to be done to ease our troubled souls.

Anonymous on Sun, 01/06/2013 - 03:17

Wake Up !!! Principal made a huge error and now is lying to cover it up so they don't look like irresponsible fools !!! Think you need to view photos of faces of Sandy Hook children who sadly perished because a mentally imbalanced individual was able to freely enter the school, then look into your child's eyes and reflect, REALITY is they screwed up !!!!

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Sun, 01/06/2013 - 00:11

"he was NOT wearing a mask when she spoke to the young man"

Our report is clear that he entered the building wearing a mask. The principal's version and the police version of events confirm this as does the report by News12. We said nothing about the Principal then meeting with the person and whether he was STILL wearing the mask when they met. We were not even aware at the time that the principal had met with the person. Even now, having reported that, I have no idea why the response to a suspicious person entering the building is anything other than following the protocol in the safety plan -- call 911, put the school on lockdown and let the police deal with the person.

The story here is that despite Newtown and all the claims since, the school district is still not following its own plan.

I have seen nothing in the plan that says school security guards are to make assessments of threats on a case by case basis and then make their own decision as to whether to follow safety protocols.

Anonymous on Sat, 01/05/2013 - 20:14

seems our principal lied straight to your face...the flyer sent home that was signed by your principal clearly states "a young man wearing a mask did enter the building through the main entrance" and she called Mr. Danielle, the director of security and HE called police. Do you feel comfortable having someone who lied to you be in charge of your childrens saftey...i don't. Our children are too young for this stress thats why we, the adults, the parents need to protect them!!!!!

Anonymous on Fri, 01/04/2013 - 13:14

Who is this guy related to that he was let go? I know not many of us could be questioned and get to walk away

Anonymous on Fri, 01/04/2013 - 02:43

why was there no robo call made to the homes

Anonymous on Fri, 01/04/2013 - 03:22

Warren Gross forgot to take his pills today after he watched The Princess Bride for the 72nd time. Everyone just knows he's a whacko bob, no need to close anything down.

Anonymous on Fri, 01/04/2013 - 15:14

Anyone with the name "wacko" needs to be watched.

Anonymous on Sun, 01/13/2013 - 15:53

Yes, and the person who wrote that last comment needs to be watched also.

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