April 16, 2024



    Dear Parents and Community Members,


    I wanted to update you on concerning incidents that happened today in the Middle School and High School buildings when an individual illegally gained access to these buildings.  Before I do that, however, I want to reassure you that all students, faculty and staff are safe, the police are fully involved, and the offending individual is in police custody.


    This morning, shortly after 8 am, an 18 year old individual, in no way connected with our school, gained access to the middle school through the front entrance by pretending to be a  student entering for classes.  


    He was in the building for several minutes before a staff member asked to see identification.  When confronted, the individual ran out of the building.   At this point the police were notified of the transgression.


    The individual then proceeded directly to the high school and attempted to gain access to the high school through exterior doors.  When he found that all of the doors were locked and he could not gain access, he went to the front entrance and rang the bell.  At this time an officer from the New Paltz Police Department was in the main office.  


    The individual again posed as a New Paltz student and he was buzzed into the building where he was immediately confronted by school administrators and the police officer.  When the individual realized that he was not being accepted as a student, he quickly turned and ran out of the building.  He was pursued on foot by the officer and other officers were called to help with the situation.  


    The individual was apprehended near the entrance to the campus on South Putt Road.  He was arrested and taken into custody.. The individual expressed to the police that he thought it would be funny to see if he could enter school buildings without getting caught.  The police will be interviewing everyone who was in contact with the individual and all further evidence will be turned over to them as they conduct their investigation. 


    While the individual was being pursued, the High School employed lock out procedures as prescribed by the district safety plan.  The lock out continued until the individual had been apprehended and taken away.


    This is a very concerning situation and very coincidental as well.  You may be aware that a person briefly gained access to the High School on Thursday when a high school student let him in without knowing who he was.  


    The individuals in both events have now been identified and are being dealt with by the police. Both individuals were unarmed.  There is no indication that the two events are at all related.  In the first case the interloper was a former student who illegally gained access to the school in order to give a donation of school equipment to one of our teachers.  In today’s case the individual was a person from out of town who was visiting a friend from SUNY and had no connection with our school or with SUNY New Paltz.


    Please be assured that our students’ safety is our primary concern.   We are greatly concerned by the events of the day and we realize that safety procedures need to be reevaluated and improved to ensure that incidents like these do not happen again.  We have already identified ways that we can improve our procedures and we will begin implementing them immediately.


    Thank you for your patience.  We promise that we will take these matters seriously and do all we can to ensure the safety of our students and staff.  We would also like to thank the New Paltz police for the valuable assistance they provided us with today.  




    Stephen Gratto