A 15-year-old student was arrested at Mainland Regional High School after a “false public alarm” caused by a text message was traced back to the teen, police said.

“It was reported that it was circulating around school (via text message) that there was going to be a shooting at the school on Friday,” according to police.

The investigation resulted in a 15-year-old female being arrested by the Linwood Police Department and charged with false public alarm, a third-degree crime, police said. The juvenile was released on the Juvenile Diversion Program.

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Superintendent Tom Baruffi said students often don’t realize that something in writing, regardless of whether or not it is in the form of a text message or social media, can create a lot of chaos. The text message was sent to a few students at first, but networked out to more students.

“We have no choice but to investigate and make sure it stops. Any message that cane be construed as a threat to students” will be investigated, he said.

A message was sent through the high school’s notification system about 11 a.m. to parents of students. The message was a recording by Baruffi informing parents that a “false public alarm” was investigated by Linwood police leading to an arrest.

“There was no danger,” Baruffi said. “The purpose was not to alarm everyone, it was the opposite, to give comfort.”

Incidents like this cause a lot of misinformation, he said.

When asked if it seemed a reaction to the recent Connecticut shooting, Baruffi replied, “It is too coincidental for it not to be.”


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