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Mayor Gray Calls Suspicious Mail Incidents at DC Public Schools a Dastardly Act

Thursday, May 5, 2011
School officials and authorities acted quickly to address the situation.

(Washington, DC) - This evening, Mayor Vincent C. Gray assured parents and other DC residents that his Public Safety team, including the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), has been working in coordination with its other federal partners (Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service) to take all necessary measures to ensure students’ and staff members’ safety in the wake of suspicious envelopes received at 27 District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).

“Let me assure residents that the District of Columbia government acted quickly and efficiently to ensure our children’s safety at the first hint of potential danger,” Mayor Gray said. “This was a dastardly and incredibly disruptive act that has alarmed people unnecessarily.”

Immediately upon being notified by Police Chief Cathy Lanier about the incidents, Mayor Gray was briefed and remained in constant communication with MPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI is serving as the lead agency in the investigation because of the nature of the threat and the potential link between the envelopes at DC schools and other cases being investigated around the country.

Mayor Gray said that DCPS followed the pre-determined protocols associated with such incidents, including sheltering students and staff in place until a determination that there was no danger. In addition, schools sent automated voicemail messages to parents and guardians of students in affected schools to keep them abreast of the situation.

“Our schools acted swiftly to ensure the safety of all students and staff,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “MPD and emergency personnel responded quickly to each school to investigate and at no time were students exposed to the substance. There was minimal impact to the school day.”

All schools will be open tomorrow, on time, unless otherwise advised by MPD or the FBI said Henderson. “The safety of our students is our top priority and we will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when we have new information.”

The Mayor indicated that extensive plans are in place to inspect school mail for potential threats and to ensure a safe environment for all schools. He applauded public safety and school authorities for acting quickly to respond to the incidents.