April 23, 2019 | 71° F

Gun threat at New Brunswick Middle School follows Florida shooting

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Two students from New Brunswick Middle School have been arrested following false gun threats. This comes on the heels of the shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida, which made national headlines earlier this month. 

Two students at New Brunswick Middle School have been arrested over the past four days — both for making false statements about having a gun in their backpack.

The second charge, issued to a 12-year-old student of the school, was for “Creating a False Public Alarm” and came Monday afternoon, according to a statement from the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD)

The threat came at the end of the school day when a teacher was made aware of the comment, NBPD detectives and school officials determined the student did not have a gun in his bag or bring one to school.

A follow-up investigation took place at the student's home which determined there was no gun there either, according to the statement.

“The New Brunswick Police Department and the New Brunswick Public Schools take these threats very seriously,” the department said in the statement. “Even if students perceive them as jokes, the consequences can be serious.”

This incident and following consequences mirrored a threat that was made on Friday by a 14-year-old male student at the school.

The student made a comment about having a gun in his bag at the end of the school day, a teacher was made aware of the comment and authorities and school officials worked to determine that there was no gun, according to an earlier statement

Investigators then conducted a similar follow-up at the student’s home where they determined no threat of gun possession existed.

The 14-year-old was charged with “Creating a False Public Alarm" — the same offense.

When interviewed by detectives, the student claimed he was just joking, according to the earlier statement. These false alarms ride the heels of the shooting that occurred at a Parkland, Florida high school earlier this month, which killed 17 people. 

In the week that followed the Feb. 14 shooting — Thursday Feb. 15 to Friday, Feb. 23 — each school day recorded more than 50 threats of school-based violence in schools across the country, according to a fact sheet released by The Educator’s School Safety Network, an advocacy organization that tracks recent reports of threats.

In response to recent gun violence, a nationwide school walkout is scheduled on March 14, according to an article from The Daily Targum. The purpose of the walkout is to bring attention to issues regarding student safety on campus and to push leaders in Congress to update gun legislation.

The NBPD said in a statement that, “The New Brunswick Police Department reminds everyone … If you see or hear something suspicious, report it to an authority so it can be properly investigated.” 

Ryan Stiesi

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