SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – District officials and police removed a student from the high school Thursday after he allegedly made threatening comments while playing a violent video game at his home Wednesday night.
Police said they received information about a juvenile making threats about South Brunswick High School at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
Detectives investigated the incident and determined there was no credible threat, and police worked with school officials throughout Thursday regarding the incident.
“The safety of our children and schools is our top priority,” Chief of Police Raymond Hayducka said. “We will continue to work with our educators to ensure a safe school environment.”
In a letter to parents Thursday, High School Principal Peter Varela said the tip to police came from “an anonymous source.”
“One of our students, while participating at home in an online gaming video of a violent nature, made comments referencing ‘shooting up the school,’” Varela said in the letter. “The police immediately went to the home and launched an investigation. Early this morning, as a follow up to the police investigation, the school administration met with the student and parent. As a result of our administrative findings, the student was removed from school in accordance with our Code of Conduct. Further actions are pending.”
Varela said it remains the district’s highest priority to provide the safest possible learning environment for students.
“Working in partnership with the South Brunswick Township Police Department, we will continue to be vigilant on behalf of your children and our students,” he said in the letter. “We are deeply appreciative for the anonymous tip that came forward and hope that this type of cooperation will always continue.”
Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Gary McCartney said that he is very appreciative of the tip and the process that it started to address the situation.
“I am very happy that whoever the anonymous tipper was, there are people that take all this kind of stuff seriously,” Dr. McCartney said. “Someone reported it, we have the greatest police force in the state. They go right out and investigate it.”
Dr. McCartney could not release any information about the student due to privacy issues, but said he believes he was a junior at the school.
He said school officials met with the student and parents Thursday and the student was removed from the school indefinitely until he can be fully evaluated per the district’s protocol for such incidents.
“We get the parents and student in today and deal with it to make sure all the pieces come together to keep everybody else safe,” he said. “If we hadn’t gotten the tip, who knows? The kid could have come to school and it would have been a buzz and we would have been trying to track down what happened last night.”
He said that there is still a lot to be determined about the incident by both district officials and the police and further actions may be taken as the situation moves forward.
“We do a threat assessment,” he said. “We look at the case and the individual and make judgements psychologically about whether this is a serious perpetrator or someone who, in the midst of gaming, has a lot to say.”
He said there is a “battery” of assessments the student will be a part of so that the district is “solidly positioned” in any eventual decisions about the case.
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