School Bomb Threats Taken Seriously at Terrill Middle

Terrill Middle School will present SCREENAGERS on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 9:30 a.m.

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Twice within one week (April 24 and May 1), bomb threats have been found at Terrill Middle School. In both instances, the building was searched, and threats were found to be false. On Friday morning, students conducted safety drills for about an hour under the supervision of school administrators and police officials.

According to a letter from New Jersey Director of Homeland Security and Preparedness Edward Dickson posted on New Jersey's Department of Education web site, there were 61 bomb threats in New Jersey during the 2012-13 school year with no live devices actually found.

Dickson reported that a study found the majority of the threats were received by public schools, usually high schools, on Mondays and Thursdays. The most common method of delivery is by note.

Sign Up for E-News

“A bomb threat is a felony and a serious offense,” explained Scotch Plains Police Captain Brian Donnelly.  “If we find out who did this, they could be charged with a felony, which leads to over 18 months of jail time if found to have been committed by an adult.” 

In New Jersey, juveniles are treated differently, and the matters would be heard in juvenile court.  The offender could potentially serve time in a juvenile detention facility, and the offense will go on the individual’s criminal record. 

“Sometimes people think it’s just a kid making a prank, but we want to reiterate that this is a serious offense,” Donnelly said.  “We take the safety in our schools very seriously. This is a very active investigation.”

A letter signed by Dr. Margaret Hayes, Superintendent of Scotch Plains-Fanwood Public Schools, and Dr. Kevin Holloway, Principal of Terrill Middle School, was sent to parents on Friday, May 2, to address their concerns: 

Today we conducted a planned evacuation drill at Terrill with the support of both the Scotch Plains Police and the Union County Sheriff’s Office.  This drill provided school personnel with helpful feedback on our procedures.

Safety is the first priority and thus any threat warrants a thorough response.  However, we are also aware that there are significant costs associated with investigating false bomb threats.  Anyone found responsible for such actions is subject to prosecution under the law as well as district disciplinary consequences. 

We are grateful for the outstanding cooperation we received from both the Scotch Plains Police and the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

Assuming the culprit is a student in the school, what is the motivation for making a bomb threat?

“The motivation can be anything from getting their kicks to wanting to get out of school early.  In some cases, mental health issues may be a factor.  It’s usually an adolescent seeking attention who just thinks this kind of thing is funny, but motivation is difficult to ascertain without knowing the kid,” said John Migueis, owner of myHope Therapy services in Scotch Plains.

“If an adult is behind the threats, there’s probably a more serious set of problems,” added Migueis, who works with adolescents and adults who struggle with a variety of psychiatric, emotional and behavioral issues.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 21, 2018

Dear Editor:

After Bruce Patterson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County Freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting Freeholder, I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered.

At the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union ...

Helping Teenagers Deal with Prom Night Stress

April 18, 2018

Prom can be one of the most exciting times for your teenager but at the same time one of the most stressful. 

It can also be very stressful for parents as they prepare themselves to accept that their teenager is graduating and soon going away to school, while planning a weekend away after prom night. Going to the Shore for the weekend or somewhere overnight has become more of the ...

Track and Field: Union Catholic Girls Qualified for 3 Finals, Ran Fastest NJ Times in 3 Races at Penn Relays

April 26, 2018

PHILADELPHIA - The Union Catholic girls have a history of making their presence felt on the biggest track and field stages.

The opening day of the 124th Penn Relays on Thursday proved to be no different as UC once again showed everyone that even without Olympian Sydney McLaughlin (now starring at the University of Kentucky) the Vikings are one of the best programs in the ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, April 28, 11:00 AM

Prominent Properties Sotheby's International Realty, Westfield

Dog Adoption