SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - A joint investigation conducted by the Scotch Plains and Fanwood police departments found that there was no credible threat made Monday against students at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.
Police officials conferred with Superintendent Margaret Hayes before the decision was made to open the high school as normal on Tuesday, albeit with increased police presence. However, many students did not attend.
"People didn't go to school because there was a lack of information, and the statement wasn't satisfying," said one parent who spoke to TAPintoSPF under condition of anonymity. "It's a scary thing. Other events have happened across the country, but this was the first time we heard about something here. Whether it was embellished on social media or not, people were on edge."
"My son was truly scared. The kids were all following group chats that had discussions about guns and who might have guns," said Susan Bonnell, a parent of a high schooler who did attend school today.
Later in the day, Dr. Hayes and Principal David Heisey issued a statement to address the rumored threat that had quickly spread amongst parents and high school students on Monday.
Dear Parents and Guardians:
Either through social media, word of mouth, news outlets or from our districts’s website/district communication, you may have heard that a possible threat was made to our high school on the evening of February 29th. The purpose of this correspondence is to clarify what we have learned.
The Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police Departments, in coordination with school district officials, conducted a thorough investigation. We have concluded that there was no credible threat made to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. Instead, misinformation from a variety of sources was conveyed through social media indicating the so-called threat. We are confident that no one in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School was in danger.
While we work diligently to create open lines of communication among all in our community, we do not condone the use of social media to convey information that has not been substantiated.
Should you have cares or concerns, and to assist in dispelling misinformation, we encourage you to reach out directly to school officials and local law enforcement.
David Heisey, Ed. D., Principal
Margaret W. Hayes, Ed. D., Superintendent of Schools
The police investigation followed all relevant New Jersey Office of the Attorney General protocols in determining that the concerns were unfounded, according to Scotch Plains Police spokesperson Ted Conley.
"The Police Department takes every such threat with the utmost seriousness and will always investigate them fully in order to protect township students, staff, and residents," said Conley. "We encourage all students, staff, and residents to please contact us immediately with any concerns regarding any matter of this nature so that it can be investigated."
"The threat wasn't credible. We conferred with the superintendent, who has communicated with parents," said Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo. "The claims were unsubstantiated. There was no threat."