Post Parkland shooting, reports lead to investigation

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, Feb 16, 2018 |

Monroe Township district officials confirmed today that they and law enforcement investigated several reports received from community members in wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida.

While officials declined to provide specifics, Superintendent Michael Kozak said notifications were sent to community members Thursday.

“It was a posting on Facebook, and we found out it originated in different state. And it was a person who was familiar with Monroe Township,” Kozak said on Friday. “A lot of what was being reported was someone heard something, but investigations showed nothing was true.”


Monroe Public School District Superintendent Michael Kozak discusses the middle school referendum on Feb. 2. Photo/Screen Shot

Several districts in New Jersey received similar reports, promoting at least one school to close. In a letter to the Nutley schools community, Superintendent Julie Glazer wrote the district would be closed Friday after a security threat.

“The police are actively investigating,” she wrote. “As it gets late in the evening, we have decided to err on the side of safety and close schools Feb. 16, 2018.”

At least 17 people were killed in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, and 14 injured, according to reports. Alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested.

In Nutley’s case, according to multiple reports, a video appeared online regarding violence at Nutley’s schools, but had no immediate threat.

Kozak said it’s not uncommon for schools to receive such reports or threats following tragic events like the Parkland shooting, but districts, including Monroe, must remain vigilant.

“This is all coming out of the reaction from Florida which is a tragic, horrific event,” Kozak said. “We encourage parents to report things that are suspicious to us and we will investigate and that’s what we will continue to do.”

Despite some fears from residents concerned about school building safety, Kozak said the district’s sites are secure, using common practices such as video surveillance, ID checks and locked doors during school days, among other techniques that he would not disclose for security reasons.

“We are always evaluating our security,” he said. “We feel that we have very good security measures in place, but we will never stay with the status quo. We work with our [Monroe Township] Police Department, we send people out for training. We will continue to do these things.”