LIVINGSTON, NJ — Although police have deemed recent threats of violence to Livingston High School not credible, Livingston police heightened security at the school today with a two-hour delayed opening and increased police presence throughout the district around the clock.
Livingston Police Chief Craig Handschuch, LHS Principal Mark Stern and Superintendent Christina Steffner held a pre-meeting before the students came in, where they addressed the high school staff about the issue and how to help alleviate any fears throughout the day. Subsequently, Handschuch said the rest of the morning went smoothly.
“We brought extra officers over; we opened up three doors to the high school; students presented their IDs as they entered the school; we added some extra security measures; and everything couldn’t have gone any smoother,” said Handschuch, who confirmed again that the police department is confident that these are all non-credible threats.
In addition to the initial threats made Sunday night via Facebook, more threats were made to the school late Monday night. Posts to Facebook on both nights threatened to “shoot up” the school and deemed it “judgment day” for anyone in the way.
It should be noted the student whose account is sharing these posts could have been hacked or a fake account could have been created in the student’s name. Despite being deemed not credible, police assured the public that they are taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of the students and the community.
“We’re going to take it one hour at a time, but I can tell you this is probably one of the safest places you could be today with all the police presence we have here,” said Livingston Police Captain Gary Marschuetz.
Marilyn Joyce Lehren, manager of Communications/Community Outreach for Livingston Public Schools, said she was pleased with the extra safety precautions that the students went through before entering the school this morning. The teachers and staff arrived at regular time and developed a plan to make sure that this was a calm and safe opening.
“It was amazing how the staff and teachers stepped up to really help out today,” Lehren said. “The threats online have been deemed not credible by the police, but our job here at the school district is to make sure that our students feel safe and secure.”
Mayor Al Anthony, who was also on hand at Livingston High School Tuesday morning, was impressed with how the students, faculty and police were handling the situation.
“The kids were great—they were cooperative, they were polite, they understood and there were a lot of smiles on their faces as we were talking to them,” said Anthony. “I think the police are doing a nice job of doing their job.”
This is an active and ongoing investigation taken over by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday. More information will be provided as it becomes available.