After more than a dozen schools operated in “shelter in place,” students and staff barred from leaving the building before dismissal, the school district ended the week without any incidents or new threats.
“No threats have been reported today,” said Paul Brubaker, spokesman for the Paterson Public Schools, on Friday afternoon.
On Wednesday, 15 schools operated in “shelter in place” mode after authorities learned about a threat against Eastside High School.
“I might shoot up ehs on Wednesday at 12:47 to make my list clear,” wrote someone in a social media posting.
Plainclothes police officers were deployed at and in the vicinity of the schools as students continued to receive their usual classroom instruction.
Police learned about the threat at 5 a.m. on Wednesday. Out of fear many parents picked up their children from schools.
On Thursday, seven schools operated in “shelter in place” mode after fresh threats were made against the schools.
“This week’s threats have all been made online. We take them very seriously,” said superintendent Eileen Shafer in a video posted on social media on Thursday afternoon to re-assure parents and teachers. “We stay on our guard and call for shelter in place, but that does not mean students and staff are in immediate danger.”
Paterson Police, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, and New Jersey State Police were investigating the threats against the schools. The threats were determined to be not credible.
“There is an active investigation to determine origin,” said police director Jerry Speziale late Friday afternoon.
Detectives have been trying to track down the person who posted the message. Authorities questioned a female, but she stated she did not originally post the threat, according to law enforcement sources.
“This is a very serious matter. I don’t think people realize how serious it is,” said Speziale. “This costs money. This puts fear into the parents and community.”