Multiple ‘swatting’ calls lock down several NJ schools
Several schools around the state received threats Friday morning.
Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy told New Jersey 101.5 threats were received at schools in Barnegat, Jackson and Toms River. The threats were all unfounded, according to Mastronardy.
Toms River police said Toms River High School North was locked down as a precaution after a call was received about a potential shooting. The incident is being investigated as a swatting incident.
Jackson public schools spokeswoman Allison Irwin said Jackson police also received a call about a shooting at Jackson Liberty High School that officers were quickly able to determine was a hoax.
The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office said there was police activity at the Biotechnology High School & Monmouth County Career Center on Kozloski Road in Freehold Township.
"There is no threat or danger to students," Monmouth Sheriff Shaun Golden said on the agency's Facebook page.
Golden said the source of the call is not yet known.
Threats beyond Jersey Shore districts
A threat was also called into the East Brunswick police dispatch center about an incident at the high school that led to a large police response, according to school superintendent Victor Valeski. The high school and the neighboring Central Elementary School were placed in shelter-in-place mode.
"Ultimately, the call was determined to be a hoax, also known as SWATTING, but the continuous training with our students, staff, administrators, security team and EBPD was evident today," Valeski said.
Hamilton School District superintendent Scott Rocco in a letter to the community confirmed two calls were received about an incident at Hamilton High School West, which led to a large police presence and a shelter-in-place.
"Neither of these calls were real. They have been deemed a hoax. Neither of these calls were generated inside of our school. At no time were any of our students or staff in any danger. Although that is a relief, it does not lessen the fear or scared feelings of our students and staff," Rocco wrote. "I have been informed that this same situation has happened to other schools in New Jersey today."
Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé said that a call was received around 9:40 a.m. about an active shooter at Weequahic High School who had shot 10 students — which was false.
The school was temporarily evacuated and the Newark Police Emergency Services Unit, along with other members of the Newark Police Division, determined that the call was unfounded.
RLS Metro Breaking News reported a copycat threat made against a Paterson school from a student in a school office.
No credible threats
State Police Sgt. Philip Curry said their Regional Operations Intelligence Center is currently monitoring the situation and has not deemed any of the threats as credible.
"The State Police and our law enforcement partners take all threats seriously and will utilize every asset at our disposal to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, administrators, and the public," Curry said. "We urge everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency."
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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