Parents want armed guards at NJ school, as districts get threats
NUTLEY — More than a dozen parents are asking school officials to post armed guards in district schools, as police statewide continued to investigate threats and rumors in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
In a letter sent to NorthJersey.com, Nutley Mayor Joseph Scarpelli, and Schools Superintendent Julie Glazer, several parents said they will bring up security at the next Board of Education meeting on Monday.
"As parents, our children are our most precious 'belongings' that we entrust in the school district on a daily basis. It begs the question of why we do not consider having armed guards in our schools, such as a retired police officer or retired veteran with a carrying permit. Even having an unarmed guard or metal detectors would be a better solution than nothing," the letter read.
NJ.com reports it was written by Erica Zarro, the mother of a 6-year-old. Although a version published on NorthJersey.com was signed by six parents, Zarro told NJ.com that 14 had contacted her asking to be added as signers.
"I understand that having guards and metal detectors are 'unappealing' and might be perceived as making our school district look unsafe," Zarro wrote. "But then the question becomes what is more important to us — appearances or our children?"
A social media posting on Instagram shut down Nutley schools last week. Although police didn't describe the contents of that post, Zarro told NJ.com it contained photos of teens appearing to shoot a rifle at a firing range, and then Nutley High School and children in a classroom. The report said the video was set to the song "Pumped Up Kids" by Foster the People, about a school shooting.
Police have said they do not believe there to be an active threat to the schools, and have spoken to the person who posted the video.
A number of New Jersey districts, including Nutley, Jackson, Monroe (Middlesex County), the Eastern High School district in Voorhees, Old Bridge, East Brunswick, and the Matawan-Aberdeen district all reported threats last week that were ultimately found to not be credible.
Armed police were added to the security detail already in place at East Brunswick public schools following the arrest of a student for making an online terroristic threat, according to Superintendent Dr. Victor Valeski.
A photo of a Bloomfield High School student with a weapon posted to social media, with "a derogatory and inflammatory reference to the tragedy in South Florida," was found to not be a credible threat, according to a message Monday from Bloomfield Superintendent Salvatore Goncalves.
"Please be aware that this unfortunate event does not present a current threat to the Bloomfield School District community," Goncalves wrote.
The picture was taken out of state and the student is not currently part of the regular program at Bloomfield High School, according to the superintendent, who said police determined the student does not have any weapons.
Cinnaminson Police said Monday they investigated two threats made in Facebook posts they found to not be "accurate or factual." One of the posts was not reported to police, while the other included the name of a juvenile who was said to have made verbal threats. Police concluded there is no credible threat to any school in either post.
A Chatham Middle School student who police said posted "a series of inappropriate posts to social media" was investigated by police and would not be present in school on Tuesday, according to a message from the school district on the district website.
"The police have launched a full investigation, are working with the student and his family, and have determined that the student poses no active threat to the school. The student will not presently be attending school and the police have offered to station an officer at the school tomorrow for increased reassurance," read the message.
Comments made by a student at High Point Regional High School in Sussex led to an investigation by State Police, according to a statement from Superintendent Scott Ripley obtained by the New Jersey Herald.
The comment was made late Friday afternoon after classes were dismissed, according to the report. Ripley did not disclose the nature of the comment or how it was communicated.
Chatham, Cinnaminson, Bloomfield, and High Point resumed classes on Tuesday following a long holiday weekend for Presidents Day. Many districts, including Nutley, remained closed all week.
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