ROXBURY, NJ – Following up on Tuesday’s arrest of two Roxbury High School students, Roxbury Police Chief Marc Palanchi today said the days of “working with parents” whose children make threats are over.
If a student makes a threat against a Roxbury school or another student, even if it's not real, police will no longer show restraint, said the chief in a post on Facebook.
“Please have a conversation with your children so they understand ramifications if threats are made on our schools and against our students,” said Palanchi. “This type of behavior has no room in our schools and will be dealt with accordingly.”
The chief’s comments come two days after his department filed criminal charges against a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old who are accused of being involved in threatening posts on the social media platform Snapchat. Palanchi said that - when it comes to his department dealing with such actions - the kid gloves are off.
The teens were charged with terroristic threats, causing false public alarm and cyber harassment and were placed in the Morris County Juvenile Detention Cente, police said.
“We have a zero tolerance policy and the days of working with parents to rectify misunderstandings or jokes are no longer an option,” stressed Palanchi.
So even if a young person has no real intention of doing harm and is just trying to be funny, edgy or sarcastic when making threatening comments, Roxbury police are not holding back, according to Palanchi.
“Our department will investigative every incident like it is a credible threat, regardless of the intent,” he said. “They will be arrested and charged accordingly.”
He noted that such charges can mean time behind bars. “We will also recommend that they be lodged in the (Morris County) Juvenile Detention Center if the charges allow,” wrote the chief. “Once they are lodged they will not be allowed out of the facility until a hearing.”
Palanchi’s post, which was greeted with mostly supportive comments, put the onus on parents to make clear to their children the value of thinking about consequences. “Please discuss with them the importance of making good decisions and the severity of saying something even if it’s in jest,” wrote the chief.
It was unclear if Palanchi was suggesting the Snapchat posts in Roxbury were something done "in jest." Yesterday he referred to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office questions about that and other aspects of the incident - such as whether the gun pictured in a post was real, whether any weapons were found and/or confiscated and if the arrested teens had any prior contact with police.
Even though the teens names were not released, the prosecutor's office said it wouldn't answer the questions because the case involves juveniles and is "an ongoing investigation."