Toms River police and Ocean County Sheriff’s officers provided an extra layer of protection to students Friday after a threatening note – for the second time in several weeks – was found on a bathroom wall at Toms River High School North.
The note read: “Don’t come to school 12/9. Boom boom.”
Police spokesman Ralph Stocco said school staff immediately notified the police department and an investigation was initiated. Through the course of the investigation, additional information was received that there was a previous threatening message written on the same wall during the last week of November.
“Although this is believed to be the actions of an irresponsible student that did not contemplate the full ramifications of their actions; the incident is being handled as a criminal matter,” Stocco said. “In the times that we live in all potential threats are taken seriously.”
Since this incident was first reported, specially trained K-9 units assigned by Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy conducted more than one safety search of the school on different days. On Friday, additional police officers were on the campus to provide an extra layer of security for the students and staff.
“This was done out of an abundance of caution and not as a result of us believing there was ever any credible threat,” Stocco said. “We are investigating several leads and urge any student with information as to the identity of the responsible student to contact the police department or school staff. This information will be kept strictly confidential.”
Chief Mitch Little said in a statement that if the perpetrator is identified, the police department will be filing “all appropriate criminal charges.”
David Healy, Toms River Schools Superintendent, said that any student “proven to be responsible for this act will be subject to discipline,” ranging from a suspension up to a recommendation to the board of education for expulsion.
“These matters are of great concern to us because of the wasted school and police resources,” said Stocco. “This incident alone cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in assigned man-hours and parents could be held financially liable for reimbursement.”
Earlier this year, two Toms River students were arrested and charged for making social media threats.
“We hope to have that same level of success in putting an end to the fear generation by thoughtless students,” Stocco said.