Criminal probe opens into Toms River HS North graffiti threat
The threat found scrawled on a rest room wall in Toms River High School North this week is being treated as a criminal matter, and township police say they are looking at several leads.
Reading "do not come to school 12/9 boom boom," the graffiti was reported to school staffers on Tuesday, December 6, police said. Detectives learned of a previous threat that appeared on the same wall in the last week of November.
Parents were notified of the incident via e-mail sent by Toms River Schools Superintendent David Healy and High School North Principal Ed Keller.
While police place no credibility in it, and believe that an "irresponsible student" is behind it, extra officers were assigned to the campus today, and the school has undergone repeated safety searches by K9 units from the Ocean County Sheriff's Office through the course of the week.
Earlier in the year, two Toms River students were arrested and charged in connection with threats posted on social media sites.
Authorities urge students with information about the incidents to help identify whoever is responsible, adding that the information remains confidential.
Toms River PD Chief Mitch Little said that if an individual is identified, "all appropriate criminal charges" will be filed.
Schools Superintendent David Healy added that any student proven to be responsible will be subject to sanctions ranging from suspension to a recommendation for expulsion before the Board of Ed.
Police spokesman Ralph Stocco explained that a secondary, but no less critical, concern aside from safety, is the waste of school and police resources.
"This incident alone cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in assigned man-hours and parents could be held financially liable for reimbursement," he said.
Text of the letter that parents received:
"Dear Parents and Guardians:
As some of you may be aware there was a message written on the bathroom wall at High School North that was perceived to be a threat. We have been in communication with our local law enforcement agencies and after a full inspection, they have reported that there is no current threat to the safety and security of our students and faculty. We have long had protocols in place and our administration and safety officers will continue to remain vigilant in our schools in order to provide an extra layer of security.
We take the safety of your children very seriously and will continue to monitor all locations while remaining in communication with law enforcement."