Ocean County District Closes After Social Media Alerts of Gun Violence

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In the wake of the murder of four students by a 15-year-old at Oxford High School in Michigan, Manchester Public School District closed all its schools Friday after social media comments about possible death threats at Manchester High School. Superintendent David Trethaway informed families in an email (see below) about the district closure Thursday evening. Late on Friday Trethaway sent another email explaining “the police have found no evidence of a credible threat and they are confident that no danger exists to our students or staff.” The Ocean County district was open today.

In addition, Jersey City, North Bergen, and Howell school districts have added precautions to forestall active shooter crises. Other districts will follow suit.

As I posted on our webpage earlier today, the police investigated a student who made a comment on social media regarding a weapon.  That issue was investigated and determined to be not credible.  

However, unfortunately, tonight, there have been additional statements made on social media involving other individuals claiming to have knowledge of a possible threat at the high school.  While these statements may be false, the police are investigating each individual to determine if any statement is based on a known fact or again are just more rumors.  

At this time, the police have not had the time to fully investigate all statements and interview all individuals to make a final decision on the credibility of any statement of a threat. 

However, unfortunately, tonight, there have been additional statements made on social media involving other individuals claiming to have knowledge of a possible threat at the high school.  While these statements may be false, the police are investigating each individual to determine if any statement is based on a known fact or again are just more rumors.  

At this time, the police have not had the time to fully investigate all statements and interview all individuals to make a final decision on the credibility of any statement of a threat.  

Therefore, since these new statements have not been fully investigated,  Manchester HIgh School and all district schools  will be cancelled for tomorrow, December 3.  Although there has been no communication of any threat of any kind at any of the other schools, to avoid any concerns  that parents, staff and students may have, all district schools and Regional Day School will also be cancelled.  There also will be no transportation to vocational school for Manchester students. 

I apologize for the inconvenience but since all statements and individuals cannot be fully investigated by the police at this time, we must take every step to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff  and every statement must be taken seriously and investigated by the police.  Any individual who makes a threat or communicates a false rumor on social media will face serious consequences from both the police and the school district as this is extremely dangerous.   

I want to thank the Manchester Township Police Department for their assistance in addressing this situation  and as always I want to thank the parents and staff for your understanding and cooperation. 

(Photo courtesy of CNN)

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