NEW JERSEY (WPVI) — Several school districts across New Jersey received threatening phone calls Friday that were determined to be hoaxes.
Such calls are also known as ‘swatting’ incidents, which is when someone calls 911 or other emergency services in the hope of bringing the police to a particular address.
“The Regional Operations Intelligence Center is currently monitoring the situation and has not deemed any threats to be credible,” the New Jersey State Police said in a statement.
Prosecutors in Ocean County have issued a warning for those who would make false threats.
“Swatting comes with serious consequences and criminal charges,” said prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
Among the affected districts was the Hamilton Township School District in Mercer County.
Superintendent Scott Rocco said 911 calls indicated an incident at Hamilton West High School.
This resulted in the school being put into a shelter for one of the calls and a lockdown after the second call.
Rocco said no calls were generated inside the school and “at no time were any of our students or staff in danger.”
“While this is a relief, it does not lessen the fear or apprehension of our students and staff,” Rocco said.
In Vineland, Cumberland County, police investigated a threat at Vineland High School. Officers inspected the school and determined that there was no danger to students and staff.
The Lower Township Police Department in Cape May County said it searched Lower Cape May Regional High School for what is believed to be a hoax.
In Barnegat, Ocean County, police there said students were evacuated from Barnegat High School and bused to Collins School to be reunited with their parents after what is believed to be an incident there.
In Stafford, Ocean County, police said the Stafford Township School District is on lockdown due to a hoax threat in Barnegat.
In Jackson Township, also in Ocean County, police say they received a phone call about a possible shooting at Jackson Liberty High School, but officers have already received information from the FBI that other New Jersey schools have received similar calls from the same suspect.
However, school security and the school resource officer investigated and determined there was no threat, police said.
In Toms River, Ocean County, officers responded to North High School and the school was placed on lockdown after a phone call about a possible shooting. The call was deemed unfounded, the police say.
Elsewhere in New Jersey:
Weequahic High School in Newark was temporarily evacuated, but the call was determined to be unfounded and students and faculty returned to the building.
Wallkill Valley Regional High School in Hamburg was placed on lockdown until police arrived and cleared the building.
East Brunswick Public Schools have been placed on a “Shelter in Place” status until police determine there is no threat.
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