LINDEN — A Northridge Middle School student has been removed from class after officials learned early Friday he had made a threat to harm fellow students.
Though the investigation is ongoing, North Montgomery Schools Superintendent Colleen Moran released a statement just before noon Friday stating there is currently no risk to student safety.
“At (6 a.m.) this morning we were made aware of a threat by a student alleging that he would do harm to students at Northridge unless they were wearing red,” the release stated. “At 7:04 a.m. North Montgomery sent a message to all parents to acknowledge there had been a threat made and law enforcement was involved but there was no risk to students’ safety.”
Montgomery County Sheriff Ryan Needham said North Montgomery Resource Officer Anthony Rice, other law enforcement agents and school administrators began investigating the situation immediately after learning of the threat by interviewing students and systematically checking every classroom.
It was not treated as an active-shooter situation, he said.
“Between our school resource officer and our office, everything worked well to address that threat up and down,” Needham said. “The school was not locked down and everything functioned as normal.”
However, both Moran and Needham expressed concern that misinformation had been communicated to parents online.
“Social media ignited and the threat spread quickly,” Moran’s statement read. “Everyone was working as quickly as possible to address concerns and share information.”
Needham’s comments echoed those of Moran.
“We all kind of found out at the same time,” he said. “Parents started learning of it and it just started spreading. I think that’s how the majority of people found out, initially.”
He said the threat had been made verbally between students Wednesday, and it did not reach the ears of an administrator until Friday morning.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us all to talk to students about the importance of when you hear or see something, say something,” she said through her release. “Our top priority is the safety of our students.”
The student, who was identified by Officer Rice, was removed from school grounds but not arrested, Needham said.
“Given the nature of the event and the age of the ‘suspect’ — the student who said these things — I don’t see anything earth-shattering coming out of it. We’ll file out report and send it to the prosecutor’s office, who will decide where to go from there.”
A disciplinary hearing, he said, will take place within the school system.
Superintendent Moran’s full press release reads as follows:
“At 6:00 o’clock this morning we were made aware of a threat by a student alleging that he would do harm to students at Northridge unless they were wearing red. Officer Rice was made aware and began immediately investigating the threat with law enforcement agents and school administrators. Social media ignited and the threat spread quickly. Everyone was working as quickly as possible to address concerns and share information. Officer Rice identified the student who had made comments to classmates. At 7:04 a.m. North Montgomery sent a message to all parents to acknowledge there had been a threat made and law enforcement was involved but there was no risk to students’ safety. Officer Rice and Northridge Administrators interviewed more students upon arrival to confirm the source. They also went room by room to assure students that they are safe. Northridge Administration and Office Rice are working with the parents of the student to keep safety at the forefront. The timing of this situation made it difficult to answer all concerns. Had we been notified when the threat was made, we could have responded more quickly. This is an excellent opportunity for us all to talk to students about the importance of when you hear or see something, say something. Our top priority is the safety of our students. If there was eminent danger there would be an immediate action taken and parents would be informed. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”