Here are the top New Jersey news stories for Thursday:

⬛ First COVID, now protests? College graduations at risk this year

Rattankun Thongbun
Rattankun Thongbun

Most proms, class trips and other events were scrapped because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions issued by Gov. Phil Murphy. The last tradition to fall was commencement when his administration initially issued guidance that schools should only plan for virtual graduations.

Fast forward to 2024 and those same students could be in for another altered or even no commencement. The culprit this time is pro-Palestine protests and security concerns that could lead colleges to cancel their respective ceremonies.

⬛ NJ teen girl busted for swatting threat against school

Bayonne school swatting arrest (Google Maps, Canva)
NJ school swatting arrest (Google Maps, Canva)

Bayonne Police responded to William Shemin Midtown School on Monday just before 10 a.m., after a threat was reported against the school.

Officers immediately investigated and determined it to be a swatting incident.

⬛ NJ woman says rabid raccoon chased her before being caught

(Google Maps/Canva)
(Google Maps/Canva)

One raccoon was found in an East Brunswick neighborhood near Manor and Myron places, the Middlesex County Office of Health Services said Tuesday.

This is the first rabid animal found in East Brunswick and the second rabid raccoon in Middlesex County in 2024

⬛ NJ offers millions in funding to expand free preschool

NJ preschool funding grants (Canva)

New Jersey has begun taking applications to expand free preschool programs, which have already been added to a number of the state's public school districts.

Another $33 million in federal grant funding was announced on Wednesday by Gov. Phil Murphy and Acting Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer.

The state Department of Education would accept grant applications online via the NJDOE Homeroom portal, through the entire month of May until June 3

⬛ Industrial explosion: 1 dead, more injured in Old Bridge, NJ

Superior Signal Company in Old Bridge after a fire 5/1/24
Superior Signal Company in Old Bridge after a fire 5/1/24 (ABC 7 Eyewitness News via YouTube)

OLD BRIDGE — One person was killed and several people were burned Wednesday following a fire and explosion at a company that makes smoke generators.

Old Bridge police Sgt. Herbert Doctors said a fire at the Superior Signal Company on West Greystone Road around 11:20 a.m. sent thick smoke into the air. Video shows burn marks around a garage.

The Jonas Salk Middle School across the street was put on lockdown due to its close proximity during the initial response by firefighters. Police students were safe and unaffected by the fire.


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