WEST CALDWELL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A threatening social media post triggered a security scare at a New Jersey high school Saturday.
Students at James Caldwell High School in West Caldwell were on stage for a music event when they were ordered to shelter in place around 2:30 p.m. The school was locked down and later evacuated.
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, it was supposed to be day-long Music Marathon. Instead, students, parents and teachers found themselves fearing the worst, just 10 days after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“We just finished performing a song in the band room, and a student comes in and she’s like, ‘we’re going into lockdown.’ So everyone’s panicking,” student Jodi Maloney said.
“I was about to play for my jazz band,” said Ryan Stevens. “But then one of my friends saw someone with a police officer who was heavily armed.”
The crowd split up and hid in classrooms.
“It was scary. I was kind of freaking out. Some people around me were crying,” Maloney said.
“It was very terrifying, because you don’t know what’s going to happen to your friends and family, teachers, everybody you know,” said Aaron Smookler.
Parent Steve Ruggiero was about to go into the school to watch his daughter perform.
“The police were all over the place, in terms of securing all the entrances and exits, and had us stay by our car,” he said.
After 30 minutes, police said there was no danger.
“Everyone is safe,” Superintendent Dr. James Heinegg said.
The event was called off and everyone was sent home.
In an email to the school community, the principal said police were alerted to a threatening message related to JCHS on social media posted by a student.
Students told Rozner the post was a song about shooting someone in the head and included JCHS in the title.
Maloney said the scare hit close to home.
“I had the possibility I guess in the back of my mind, but I didn’t think that it would happen to our school,” she said.
“Kids are supposed to be safe when they go to school. But now when I send my son to school on Monday, it’s very concerning,” said parent Jeff Smookler.
No one was hurt in the incident.
West Caldwell police are investigating.
The principal told students counselors will be on hand Monday if they need to speak with someone.
Students told Rozner a person may have prompted the scare by posting a song about shooting someone in the head and including “JCHS” in the title. Police have not yet confirmed his identity.
“It’s unfortunate what’s going on in our world today, but I wish I had an answer,” Ruggiero said.
The principal also told students that counselors will be on hand Monday if they need to talk to someone about the incident.