CRANFORD — A faculty member at a Central Jersey elementary school was arrested for making a terroristic threat towards the school.

Matthew Acosta, 33, of Kenilworth was charged by Cranford Police for making the threat against the Orange Avenue School, a middle school in Cranford. Acosta was taken into custody on Friday after authorities were alerted to the threat. The district superintendent said it was was another member of the faculty that alerted school authorities to the threat.

Police did not disclose the nature of the threat or Acosta's role at the school.

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“In today’s day and age, we must take every threat or negative comment involving our schools seriously. We will act swiftly and certainly to protect the safety of our children," Chief Ryan Greco said in a statement.

Acosta was charged with one count of 3rd degree terroristic threats and one count of 4th degree risking widespread injury or damage. He is being held at the Union County Jail.

"I am deeply saddened that this event occurred, but I am so appreciative of the collective response of Orange Avenue School Administration, OAS Staff, and the Cranford Police Department as we work together to ensure the continued safety and well-being of our students," Superintendent Scott Rubin said in a letter sent to the school community.

Police will have an increased presence at the school on Monday and counselors will be available for students who need to talk about the incident, superintendent Scott Rubin wrote in a message to parents.

According to school district attorney Anthony Sciarrilo, Acosta has been with the district since May of this year.

state pension records Acosta has been with the district for nine years. Cranford schools will only be open on Monday and Wednesday this week. Schools are closed on Tuesday for Election Day, and will be closed again on Thursday and Friday for the NJEA convention.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Acosta had been with the district for nine years.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

 

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