White Powder Scares at Two Downtown Manhattan Schools

By DNAinfo Staff  on May 10, 2012 3:50pm  | Updated on May 10, 2012 7:44pm

Emergency workers line up stretchers outside P.S. 234 in TriBeCa after a white powder affected nine people there on May 10, 2012.
Emergency workers line up stretchers outside P.S. 234 in TriBeCa after a white powder affected nine people there on May 10, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

MANHATTAN — Two elite Downtown schools received envelopes containing white powder Thursday afternoon, in a scare that upset parents, officials said.

The mysterious substance was sent to P.S. 234 in TriBeCa and NEST+m on the Lower East Side, police and school officials said.

Police later determined that the substance at both schools was non-toxic and investigators are trying to discover where the white powder came from, the NYPD said.

At P.S. 234, at 292 Greenwich St., an envelope containing white powder was found around 2 p.m. in the main office in the building, officials said.

Five adults and four children were exposed but no one was hospitalized.

"It's upsetting," said Yasmine Karrenberg, whose 9-year-old daughter attends the fourth-grade in the school. "It's kids."

Karrenberg, who was forced to cancel an after-school program because of the scare, said parents received an e-mail about the substance shortly after it was found saying that the substance was "non-hazardous."

"It's not funny," she said. "It's sick."

Cops and firefighters remained at the school hours after the substance was found, but neither the students or staff were evacuated, officials said.

Meanwhile, another envelope with white powder was delivered by mail to NEST+m, at 111 Columbia St., officials said.

Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said the school received the envelope but no one opened it.

No one was injured, she said.

The school was not evacuated, said Samantha Williams, the site director of after-school programming.

"All the children are safe," she said by phone.

The NYPD and the FDNY had not determined the nature of the substance at either school.

Earlier this month, suspicious powder was sent to several banks in Manhattan and to the mayor's office.

No one has been arrested.

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