Parents are naturally on edge after terrorism attacks in San Bernardino, California and in Paris. Authorities say schools across the nation received threatening calls Tuesday, and they believe that the calls are part of a pattern that stretches up and down the East coast. Now the threats have moved to the West coast and cities in between the two.
At this time, it is too early to determine where the calls originated. One or more individuals have called in bomb threats to schools in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.
Other locations that received threatening calls included: Bakersfield, California, Iowa City, Iowa, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mesa, Arizona, and North Miami, Florida, according to statements from local law enforcement agencies.
The East coast calls varied. The Delaware caller claimed he was armed, on the roof of an elementary school, and ready to hurt children and teachers. In Maryland, the caller claimed he had placed a bomb inside a high school.
In New Jersey, a caller left a voicemail message for school officials, and he said a bomb was to be followed by a mass shooting attack.
Robo call threats went out to schools in the following New Jersey cities: Garfield, Bergenfield, Leonia, Fair Lawn, Englewood, Teaneck, Hackensack, Tenafly, Clifton, and Sayreville in Middlesex County.
Some school officials decided to evacuate, while others instituted lockdowns and students sheltered in place. Over 10,000 New Jersey students were involved at last count, but they were able to start school again after officials determined their threats were part of a hoax.
Bakersfield, California Schools
The Bakersfield schools that received threatening phone calls and went into lockdown were: Horizon Elementary Schools, Discovery Elementary School, and Golden Valley High School.
Golden Valley High School’s lockdown was as a precautionary measure, but no threat had been called into the school.
Officials with the Bakersfield Police Department said, that the threats to Horizon Elementary School and Discovery Elementary school were from a computer generated voice, and the threats were to specifically harm the children.
Currently, no other Bakersfield schools have been reported on lockdown.
Clifton, New Jersey
Clifton Police Department spokesman Robert Bracken said that one high school in Clifton received a voicemail indicating that a bomb was placed in one of the schools and to expect a mass shooting. The caller also stated that other schools received like threats.
However, Braken stated there was no indication the threats were real, but the department took precautions anyway.
A Clifton student said that the alerts frightened her:
‘I thought they were going to come here and bomb my school and it’s my last year and I don’t want this to happen in my last year.’
Garfield, New Jersey
All of the schools in Garfield received a threatening robo calls. Darren Sucorowski of the Garfield Police Department said:
‘We deployed an officer to each school, at least one if not multiple. We worked in conjunction with the school security and offered to lock down the schools at that point and secure them until we had a chance to get the bomb detection dogs there.’
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
One student at Fair Lawn, Adam Tchakhkive, talked about the experience:
‘It was scary because everyone was joking around about it, taking it very lightly, but it’s scary to have it in your face like that. But thankfully no one got hurt, I don’t know about no one because I just know Fair Lawn.’
Law enforcement notified the FBI, but the local officals are handling the cases at this time. Since the threats spanned numerous states, the FBI is monitoring the situation, and it has volunteered assistance wherever requested.
Police are also investigating whether or not the threatening calls are related. Officials cannot identify the source or sources of the calls at this time.
Feature Image: By J Durham via Morguefilecom.