SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The West Hall building at Union County Vocational Technical High School was placed on lockdown for 2 hours and 45 minutes Tuesday morning after a student posted to social media that he intended to bring a gun to the school, the district’s superintendent said.
Officials directed other schools on the campus to “shelter in place,” Superintendent Gwen Ryan said in a letter to the school community. A shelter in place is when people are told to stay where they are until given an “all clear.”
“The student who made the comment was located and removed from the classroom within minutes,” Ryan said. “Bag and locker checks were completed and no weapon was found.” The lockdown, which was instituted at 8:30 a.m., was lifted around 11:15 a.m., she said.
Authorities questioned and then released the student, spokesman for the Union County Police, Sebastian D’Elia said.
In a statement, Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli said that both a sheriff’s officer and a Union County Police Department officer were on the campus when authorities became aware of the threat.
K-9 dogs and officers searched the building and did not find a gun, Corvelli said.
“A short time thereafter, officers and investigators deemed the threat not credible and it was at this time that the lockdown was lifted at the one school and the shelter in place at the remaining schools was also lifted,” he said.
Corvelli said the law enforcement community is thankful for the initial reporting of the student’s threat and said he encourages people to continue to report such matters.
Ryan did not respond to several requests for comment from TAPinto on Tuesday. She said district officials would be collecting input on its security practices.
“As per best practice when incidents occur, we will be coordinating focused opportunities to reflect and collect input on our practices so that we may continue to provide a safe learning environment for all students, and improve our efforts to ensure student safety and welfare,” Ryan said.
Staff Writers Jackie Lieberman, Elizabeth Parascandola-Clee and John Mooney contributed to this article. Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at email@example.com; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh