RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A troubling text message was quickly spreading through a New Jersey elementary school on Thursday.
It threatened death and targeted fourth and fifth graders at Somerville Elementary School in Ridgewood.
Fifth grader Lucy Kaczmarski was among its many recipients.
“It said like ‘My name is Teddy, I have no face, I am dead.’ Then it said ‘If you don’t forward this to at least 12 people, I will come and kill you in the middle of the night,'” Kaczmarski told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang.
The principal described the chain letter-style text as being “not sexual,” but “quite graphic” and “violent.”
“It was just like a scare tactic message that just creeped everyone out,” said Somerville Elementary parent Sandy Santangelo.
It was the second time in a week Board of Education officials alerted parents about fast-spreading, scandalous messages.
Last week, sexual pictures of Ridgewood High School students surfaced on the social media sites Snapchat and Instagram.
The principal said she hopes parents use the latest incident as a teachable moment to talk to their kids about how to handle suspicious messages that pop up on their phones.
Others said it’s the parents who have something to learn.
“They shouldn’t have phones in the fourth grade — that’s the thing. Fourth graders shouldn’t have phones to text message, that’s what I say,” one parent said.
Kaczmarski’s mother, Courtney, said as long as families set ground rules, gadgets are fine.
“I know those things are fake so I just deleted it and didn’t worry about it,” Lucy Kaczmarski said.
“It’s good to see how she responded, and did that on her own. We try to closely monitor their phones and computers but it’s scary. These things are out there,” her mother said.
With technology improving every day, school leaders and police said new threats are inevitable.
School administrators said it’s impossible to trace the source of the message. It first showed up on the Internet five years ago.
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