Planet Princeton

John Witherspoon Middle School Latest Princeton School to Receive Bogus Threat

princeton policeOn Tuesday morning around 9:45 a.m., the John Witherspoon Middle School received a fake threat via a pre-recorded message from a woman claiming to have a weapon and threatening to harm children.

The message was the same pre-recorded message received at Riverside Elementary School two weeks ago.

“As with the past incident, the police were immediately notified and all schools were directed to implement Shelter In Place protocols, which keep all students indoors and maintain heightened levels of security,” Princeton Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane said in a letter to parents today about the incident.

“Based on their investigation, the police believe today’s threat to once again be a hoax known specifically as swatting. Swatting has become more prevalent in New Jersey in the past year and involves contacting an individual or an institution with a false report designed to elicit a response from a SWAT team. The calls can be generated from another state or even another country. There have been a number of similar false reports in Monmouth County in the past two weeks, and the police are coordinating with other law enforcement agencies to actively investigate them,” Cochrane said. “Our police do not believe there is a credible threat today at John Witherspoon or any other school in Princeton. The police are, however, remaining on site at JW through the remainder of the day and will have a presence at each of our other schools as well.”

All the Princeton private and public schools were notified of the incident by the Princeton Police Department.  Each school took actions as they deemed appropriate, including sheltering the students inside.

Dismissal will proceed as normal this afternoon at all Princeton Public Schools, as will after-school activities.

The Princeton Police Department will continue to investigate the origin of the threat.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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