NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - Early this morning, a student at the West Essex Middle School was perceived as being a possible threat to other students. The school, along with the West Essex High School, went into lockdown procedures at 8:50am. The lockdown was over by 9:26am after North Caldwell Police, with the assistance of Fairfield Police, deemed the area safe.
Tami Clinton Michelotti of North Caldwell reported to the West Essex TAP at 9:05am this morning that "there are police blocking the entrance of West Essex Middle/High School with Fairfield police backup heading toward the area now as well."
Students reported seeing helicopters, and K-9 units in the area of the school.
West Essex Regional School District Superintendent Barbara Longo commented, "It was a general threat not directed at the school or against a specific student. It implied that a bomb was involved."
A statement was issued at 11:15am from the superintendent:
February 6, 2013
Dear West Essex Parents and Guardians,
We were informed by the North Caldwell Police Department that they received information alleging that a particular student at our middle school made a public threat to another student. The threat was reported to the police.
The North Caldwell Police advised us to go into lockdown at 8:50 a.m. this morning. Both schools followed the lockdown procedures and the North Caldwell Police Department followed all of its protocols in securing the buildings and verifying the validity of the threat.
The student was searched as well as the student’s locker, book bag and personal effects. Police declared both school buildings safe and called off the lockdown at 9:26 a.m.
Both schools then went into “shelter in place,” at 9:26 a.m. while the police concluded their investigation.
The high school came out of “shelter in place” and students returned to their classes at about 9:40 a.m. The middle school came out of “shelter in place” at 10:20 a.m. and students returned to their classes.
As always at West Essex, our students’ safety and security is paramount. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Superintendent of Schools
West Essex Regional School District
Fairfield Police Department Deputy Chief Anthony Manna commented on the incident, "Obviously, in today’s society, any implied or expressed threat to the well being of students is going to be fully investigated by law enforcement. The safety of our students and the sanctity of the education environment is of paramount concern to us."