Police have identified a juvenile who allegedly made threats against Essex High School on social media, according an email sent to parents today.
Police say they received a report of the threats around 7 p.m. Tuesday. An investigation revealed the threats were a hoax, and there was no danger to the high school at any time. Police say they served a juvenile citation and will be releasing no further information due to the accused’s age.
Sgt. Rob Hall said police suspected the threat to be a hoax early on but must take each threat seriously until proven otherwise. “If we felt that this was a legitimate threat, we would have handled it differently than we did,” he said.
Superintendent Beth Cobb first notified parents of the situation in a 6 a.m. message Wednesday that said a few Essex High School students had reported the threats to police. She said the district took “precautionary steps” to keep schools operational by increasing security efforts and working with police, who had an added presence at the school Wednesday morning.
In a follow-up email sent around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Cobb said police had addressed “plans to make a false threat, suspicious emails and concerning social media postings,” and the responsible party would receive “appropriate consequences” from both law enforcement and school administrators.
“We continue to be so proud of the efforts of those in our school community who have reported any suspicious and concerning behaviors, postings or statements,” she wrote. “It’s clear in this case that your vigilance has strengthened our community and enabled this work.”
She said the district arranged for additional support services at EHS for both students and staff, and asked anyone “in need of support” to contact high school administrator or building principal. She also requested parents to contact EPD if they hear or see “anything unusual” regarding these incidents.
“The safety and welfare of our school community is essential, as any and all threats, credible or not, are taken seriously,” Cobb wrote.