ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – It was a scary moment for Elmira parents Thursday morning after an individual — who was not a student — walked through the doors and into the halls of Elmira High School, unbeknownst to staff.
“We don’t know who this person was, we don’t know who these people are that are getting access to our children,” Rachael Furney, who has a student that attends EHS, said. “And it is so fast, it happens so fast.”
Furney told 18 News she is shocked and upset about what happened — the school said two students opened school doors from inside and let an unauthorized student into the building.
“If somebody had any kind of weapon and walked into that school, so many children are at risk,” Furney said.
Parents acknowledged that they are particularly on edge due to the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that claimed the lives of 19 children and two educators.
Elmira Public Schools sent out a notice to parents after the incident and told them there was no safety concern to students when the unauthorized individual entered the building.
Superintendent Hillary Austin acknowledged the fear and anxiety parents felt after the incident, but was also adamant there was no threat when the individual, who was removed from the school roughly four minutes after entering, was inside the building.
“We have school resource officers in all 11 of our buildings and those resource officers work closely with our administrative team,” Austin said. “We [also] have a really good partnership with local law enforcement.”
The district also said that a security system was recently implemented in an effort to keep students safe.
“We use a software program which requires visitors who come to our building to provide identification,” Austin told 18 News. “That ID is then run through a software system to make sure the individual is safe.”
But for anxious parents, those measures are not always enough.
“We trust our kids to go to the school, we trust the schools when they say they’re gonna protect our children,” Furney said. “I’m scared to send my teenager to school.”