What to Know
A threat made to a school in New Mexico last week made its way to Bayonne, leading to a panicked response from parents
A number of other schools in New Jersey dealt with similar incidents Friday; one was placed on lock down and another had heightened security
The hysteria comes a little more than a week after a former student shot and killed 17 people at a high school outside of Miami
Panicked parents rushed to a New Jersey high school Friday after word of a shooting threat spread “like wildfire” through the community.
The false threat at first believed to be targeted at Bayonne High School was actually directed at Belen High School in New Mexico, where a student was arrested last week.
But the two schools share the same “BHS” acronym and screenshots of the threat made their way to New Jersey, where the message quickly spread on social media.
“It went through the school like wildfire at 8:24 this morning,” Bayonne Mayor James Davis said.
The profanity-laden threat read, in part (sic): “ATTENTION all bhs students prepare too see my wrath tomorrow […] I’m going to be the next to go down in history.”
Police descended on the school as frantic parents raced to meet their children. Some of them were seen clutching their sons and daughters on the sidewalk outside.
Roughly 500 kids were pulled out of school, officials said.
“I feel safer if I have him home with me,” Maria Cruz said of her son, Alan.
Bayonne wasn’t the only New Jersey school rattled by threats of violence Friday.
In Berkeley Heights, Governor Livingston High School was placed on lock down after a false social media threat. And in Nutley, Abundant Life Academy closed over a separate threat.
Meanwhile, students at Ramapo Ridge Middle School in Mahwah were met by extra security after police revealed that a threat to “shoot up” the school on Feb. 23 was made several months ago.
Davis said the hysteric reaction was “the nature of the beast. It’s the world we live in today.” Parents agreed, saying they needed to be at the school to know their children were safe.
Communities across the country are dealing with the fallout of last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The massacre killed 17 people and has renewed nationwide debates on gun violence and school safety.