NJ student arrested after posting ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ gun video
NUTLEY — An 18-year-old student was arrested for posting a video that resulted in a school closing.
Joseph Rafanello was charged with third-degree false public alarm for the Instagram post, according to Nutley police. The content of the video and the timing of its discovery led superintendent Julie Glazer to call off classes in all Nutley schools last Friday, the last day before the district's winter break.
TAP Into Nutley reported the video was set to the Foster the People song "Pumped Up Kicks" and showed Rafanello and others at a shooting range.
The song, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 in 2011, is about kids outrunning bullets from a "six shooter gun" found in a closet. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, some radio stations across the country pulled the song from rotation.
In a letter to parents, Glazer said Rafanello would not return to Nutley High School. She said there will be an increased police presence in each school and new security policies in place for visitors and deliveries.
The perceived threat was among many in New Jersey that closed or locked down schools following the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Districts continue to be on edge as the threats continue.
In Vineland, a 12-year-old student was arrested after he was overheard saying he would bring a gun to school, The Daily Journal reported.
Parents in Bayonne on Friday took their children out of school because of an online threat made against "BHS." Superintendent Michael Wanko said in a letter that students were kept in homeroom as police investigated threat.
"The threat originated from a sophomore in New Mexico, who attends Belen High School (BHS), and made the terroristic online threat. Then numerous others reposted the threat and then people perceived it as our BHS," Wanko said.
A similar mixup led Stafford police to investigate an online threat made against "SHS." Police said a student in Ohio was arrested for making the threat against a high school there. It was not directed at Southern Regional High School.
A second threat made against the Matawan-Aberdeen schools on Friday brought Aberdeen police in to investigate, according to the department's Facebook page. They determined it to not be credible.
"We urge parents to have conversations with their children about the seriousness of these types of posts and the potential consequences if they are disseminated," the department wrote.
Gov. Phil Murphy and State Police this week announced a coordinated, multi-level effort is underway to improve security at New Jersey schools.
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said his office will begin a comprehensive review of school safety protocols and drills to make sure they’re being carried out in the best way possible. State Police will be visiting 107 schools that do not have local police departments to make students more comfortable about sharing information.