PISCATAWAY, NJ – A 15-year-old Piscataway student is facing charges after investigators determined a social media post about a possible shooting at Piscataway High School was a credible threat, police officials said on Thursday.
Piscataway police and school resource officers immediately began their investigation once they learned of the post on March 13, said police. They said while the threat was not specific, it did suggest a school shooting could happen in the near future.
The student was arrested and charged March 14 with making terroristic threats and juvenile delinquency, including creating a false public alarm and was later released to a family member, said police.
The arrest was made the same day students gathered in the high school’s Performing Arts Center to pay tribute to the victims of the Parkland, FL school shooting one month ago.
"Our police department is committed to continue to act swiftly when a threat is made against our school community,” Chief Scott L. Cartmell said in a news release. “We will continue to ensure the safety of every student, every staff member, and every school in the school district.”
“I urge every parent to speak directly and honestly with their children regarding the severe consequences that will occur with implied threats of violence against anyone,” continued Cartmell. “In addition, I urge parents to either monitor or have dialogue with their children on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to post on social media.”
“All parents in Piscataway should sit down with their children tonight and speak to them about the dangers of social media,” said Mayor Brian Wahler in the release. “Anyone who makes an online threat will be caught. Regardless of whether serious or in jest, there are broad and long-ranging legal implications for such threats.”
The Piscataway Police Department’s Patrol Division and the Special Victims Unit investigated the threat along with school resource officers, the Township of Union Police Department, and the Newark office of the F.B.I.
Police said they will continue to be present at township schools during the upcoming days and urged the public to contact authorities immediately if they see or hear any type of threat.