STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — Township schools are adding more safety measures after seven Intermediate School students were arrested and charged Wednesday with making terroristic threats, Superintendent George Chidiac said.
Few details of the recent arrest of the seven students were released Thursday, following initial reports from the local police. Chidiac sent a letter to parents Thursday afternoon updating them on the situation.
“We have strong established safety measures in place but have implemented additional safety measures due to this recent incident,” Chidiac wrote. He did not elaborate on the measures.
In the letter, Chidiac said the students made “inappropriate statements.”
“I want to personally guarantee you that this matter is being taken very seriously and we are working closely with the police department to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Our school officials have thoroughly investigated this matter with a proactive approach and were diligent in following the appropriate policies, measures, and protocol,” Chidiac wrote.
He said there is currently no threat to the school. Citing student privacy, the superintendent declined to give more details about the incident.
Stafford Township police said Wednesday the students, all boys, were charged after allegedly threatening to “shoot up the school” and “become active shooters.”
Township police charged the four 11-year-olds and three 12-year-olds with making terroristic threats after two separate incidents, police said. One of the incidents involved one student, of whom school officials were notified through an in-district electronic notification system when students were being dismissed from the school. Chidiac did not confirm what the name of the system is.
The school was able to intercept the student who made the threats as he was boarding a school bus, police said.
There were no additional details from police or the school on the second incident, which involved six students.
The Intermediate School has more than 600 students in fifth and sixth grades.
Chidiac did not say whether any disciplinary action was taken against the students or how the district was notified of the second incident.
Chidiac did say in his letter that guidance counselors and child study team members are available for students to speak with.
“I am confident that our staff will ease our student’s concerns and continue to foster a positive, safe, and educational environment. We strongly encourage parents to reinforce the consequences associated with inappropriate comments, even if they believe they are ‘just joking,’ and continue to monitor social media postings,” Chidiac wrote.
This is one of several recent incidents of threats made to local schools in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. On Thursday, the Pinelands Regional School District went into a shelter-in-place over a threat to the district. The suspect was apprehended by Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department.
Earlier this week, Cumberland Regional High School went into a lockdown over a bomb threat, which was later found not credible by State Police.