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West Essex Student Texts Bomb Threat, Police Say

High school and middle school placed under lockdown Wednesday morning.

West Essex Regional Schools in North Caldwell were placed under lockdown Wednesday morning after a student allegedly claimed to have brought explosives to school, police officials said. 

An investigation found no evidence of a bomb at either West Essex Middle School or West Essex High School, which are located on the same campus, North Caldwell Chief Mark Deuer said.

According to Deuer, police responded to the campus at approximately 8:48 a.m. and quickly located the middle school boy who allegedly made the threat over a text message.

North Caldwell and Fairfield police are currently questioning the boy and possible charges, including creating a false public alarm, are pending, the chief said.

According to police, a student alerted officials about the text message this morning and the schools were immediately told to go into lockdown.

The boy, as well as his locker and backpack, were checked by the Essex County Bomb Squad’s K-9 unit, which also did a sweep of the schools.

“After our initial investigation and interviewing the student,” Deuer said, “ we determined that none of the students are in harm’s way.” 

The chief said, “The text alluded to the fact that the student had explosives and was upset about a situation at school.”

In addition to North Caldwell Police, officers from Fairfield, Essex Fells, Roseland and West Caldwell, as well as the North Caldwell Fire Department and West Essex First Aid Squad, responded to the schools as part of lockdown procedure.

"Police declared both school buildings safe and called off the lockdown at 9:26 a.m.," according to a statement released by the school district. Students and faculty were ordered to shelter in place, which means they could come out of hiding and resume classes.

The shelter in place order was lifted at 9:40 a.m. at the high school and 10:20 a.m. at the middle school, according to the district. 

"As always at West Essex, our students’ safety and security is paramount," Superintendent Barbara Longo said.

emiliac February 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Observe, Ray Rodriguez! Look at the community Wesr Essex is located in, Small Malls not too far away on Bloomfield Av and a somewhat busy thoroughfare leadding to a small airport. Student Population: Inner city kids. As a school ssocial worker I have been in bomb threats and everytime the school has been evacuated. Good Observation RR.
rhoda Weinstein February 10, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I agree. Common sense says EVACUATE.
Lynn Stevens February 10, 2013 at 08:21 PM
I could give you a possible motive as to why they didn't evacuate the building. A couple of years ago there was a student who threatened another with a knife. The Principal did nothing because the student was the son of one of the secretaries in the school. When are these Principals going to start taking threats seriously... In todays society, protecting students should be priority number one!! Will it be inconvenient to evacuate; sure, but maybe then students will realize that this is serious. Of course the penalties for such an act even if it's not real should also match the severity of the action. This makes too much sense. Lynn Stevens.
Alexia P. February 12, 2013 at 09:12 PM
I go to that school. I'm in seventh grade and the kid who posted the threat is in my Social Studies class. Apparently, someone called him "Palestinian shit". He got mad and posted that. The lockdown was long and scary and the teachers kept telling us not to talk about it. We were MAP testing that day and my part of the class was in the auditorium watching a movie. We had to hide behind the curtains and be very quiet. Some girls started crying, and i kept thinking what my parents would say if I died.
gregory l. mitchell April 19, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Whoa son,this is certainly not the the time to be calling in bomb threats even if it is some demented grabass.After the Boston Marathon the police and the public for that matter are in no mood to play games.Use common sense! Respectfully,Gregory L.Mitchell,West Caldwell

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