Reported threats in New Jersey schools surged after the deadly mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February, state officials said.
In a news release calling for a renewed vigilance in school safety, the state announced the reported school threats in the 2017-18 school year more than doubled from the previous year.
Almost three-fourths of those threats were directed at high schools and middle schools.
“We can attribute part of that increase to greater vigilance on the part of students, educators, and the community as a whole,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
“We don’t want school communities to fall into a sense of complacency as we start a new school year.
“Rather, we want to continue that heightened sense of vigilance.”
— Claire Lowe
New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet reinforced the message of “see something, say something” to students, parents and educators.
“School safety is a concern shared by all, and everyone has a role to play in helping schools foster a safe and secure learning environment,” said Repollet.
Col. Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police said that troopers statewide have been directed to familiarize themselves with the schools in their districts.
Most recently, the state approved a new position of school safety specialist to coordinate security programs and serve as a law enforcement liaison. In addition, the state will continue to monitor school security drills throughout the year.
— Claire Lowe