A middle school student in Princeton posted alarming statements on Snapchat that caused officials to have both the Princeton Middle School and Princeton High School communities shelter in place on Monday morning.
At about 8 a.m. Monday, police went to the middle school in response to a report about alarming social media statements. Police said officers spoke with administrators at the middle school and determined that the student involved in the incident was not at the school at the time.
Princeton Middle School students and staff sheltered in place while police officers investigated the incident. Police located the student at his home later and determined that there was no immediate safety threat.
The detective bureau is continuing an investigation into the incident.
District officials did not elaborate on the nature of the social media threat and said they could not comment further. One student told Planet Princeton the student threatened to bring a gun to school. Another student said a student threatened in the 7th grade Snapchat to bring a fake gun to school.
Princeton Middle School Principal Jason Burr issued a statement to parents via email on Monday. He said school officials were alerterd of the potential threat to safety that began circulating via social media at about the same time students were arriving for school Monday.
“At 8:25 a.m., we made the decision to engage our shelter-in-place protocol. This allowed us to lock all classroom doors, keep hallways empty, and continue with classroom instruction while police investigated the potential threat,” Burr wrote. “Administration and school personnel worked closely with local law enforcement. As a precautionary measure, Princeton High School also sheltered in place.”
Burr said at the recommendation of the police, the shelter in place was lifted at about 10 a.m. “Based on information from law enforcement, we can confirm there is no imminent threat. While there is no threat, we have requested that the Princeton Police Department to be present at dismissal,” Burr wrote.
“As always, we encourage families to monitor your students’ social media activity. Our strength lies in the collective care for the school community, and we applaud all efforts to bring information forward that helps keep the community safe. If your PMS student needs support, our counselors are available to help,” Burr wrote.
Some parents and students seemed to think the student was the same student involved in an incident at the middle school back in mid-December, but this has not been confirmed. District officials declined to comment when asked by Planet Princeton.
On Dec. 14, Burr sent an email to parents about an alleged potential threat of violence that was overheard by a middle school teacher in the cafeteria.
“The alleged antisemitic threat related to violence against Jews and synagogues occurred during a conversation between two students who were sitting together at lunch,” Burr wrote in December.
Princeton Middle School administrators convened the threat assessment team to investigate the credibility of the alleged threat, and the alleged threat was reported to the Princeton Police Department.
“We acted quickly and followed our established protocols, which included consultations and evaluations by both district and external experts. We treat all situations like this with the seriousness they deserve,” Burr wrote in December.
“We would like to remind the community that any type of threatening hate speech is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, as well as the targeting of any individual or any group. We look forward to working with the Jewish Community Relations Council and other community partners to provide educational resources to our students and staff, as well as counseling for our students,” Burr wrote in December. “All types of threats or hate speech are unacceptable and counter to the values that we promote at Princeton Middle School and will not be tolerated.”