NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A New Brunswick Middle School student was arrested and charged with making threatening statements - the second such incident at the school in four days.
The arrests come as law enforcement agencies across the country are increasing scrutiny of all threatening comments about violence in schools, following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. where a former student shot and killed 17 people.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, New Brunswick police said a 12-year-old student made comments at the end of the school day on Monday, when he allegedly said he had a gun in his backpack.
A teacher was told of the comments, and police detectives who were notified went to the school, authorities said in the statement.
The detectives and school officials determined there was no gun in the backpack and the student did not bring a gun to the school, authorities said.
They said police went to the student’s home in a follow-up investigation and found that was no threat of him possessing a gun.
On Friday, a 14-year-old student was arrested after he reportedly told other student he had a gun in his backpack, police said. They said he later told officers he was joking, and detectives found no gun in the school, in the student’s backpack.
Both students were charged with creating a false public alarm.
City police said the department and the school are “taking all threats very seriously.”
“Even if students perceive them as jokes, the consequences can be serious,” police said in their statement. Authorities repeated their message that “if you see or hear something suspicious, report it to an authority so it can be properly investigated.”