CRANORD - Matthew Acosta, a special education teacher at Orange Avenue School has admitted to making a perceived general threat against the school where he worked late last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Thursday.

Acosta, 34, of Kenilworth pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a petty disorderly persons offense during a court hearing before state Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue Thursday morning.

A joint investigation by members of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Cranford Police Department determined that on Thursday, November 1, 2018, Acosta made a comment to a colleague at Orange Avenue School indicating that he might commit an act of gun violence at the school, according to Prosecutor’s Office Investigations Supervisor John Esmerado, who prosecuted the case. Moments later, Acosta indicated that he was not being serious when he made the remark.

Sign Up for E-News

Acosta was arrested the next day without incident and later remanded pending a mental health evaluation for dangerousness; that evaluation indicated that Acosta was not believed to be a danger to himself or others, and he was released pending adjudication of the case. 

Acosta forfeited his position as a teacher in the Cranford Public School District and will be permanently banned from ever again holding any public office in New Jersey, including any teaching position, according to the terms set down by Judge Donohue during sentencing Thursday. He also is permanently banned from ever again visiting any Cranford Public School District property.