A suspicious call was received at Princeton High School at 9:37 a.m. this morning, May 21. The school received a generalized threat over the phone that was similar in nature to the recent threats received at schools and businesses in Princeton, police said.
The Princeton Police Department is coordinating efforts with the school district to keep the students safe and issued a shelter in place directive this morning. The police department also increased the police presence at the high school and schools throughout the town.
This is the fourth fake threat, also known as a “swatting” incident, received at a Princeton school over the last month. Businesses and a residence have also been subjected to the threats.
In the incident today, some employees, students and parents seemed to think the threat was real this time, based on measures taken at the school and an announcement over the school’s public address system. Some employees at the high school and parents who received texts from their children told Planet Princeton the school went beyond shelter in place and was in full lockdown mode this morning.
Classroom doors were locked, lights were out, and teachers were shoving things against the doors. Police were on the roof of the school, dogs searched the area, and a helicopter flew over the area.
Schools across the state and the nation have received similar threats in recent weeks. Residents have called on legislators to pass laws to deter swatting. State Assemblyman Paul Moriarty introduced a bill last November that would increase penalties for “false public alarm,” upgrading the crime from third degree to second degree. Punishment would be five to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
We will update this story when police release more information.