Officials: Threats made against several NJ schools Friday ‘not credible’

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EDISON -

Law enforcement officials say that suspected threats made against several New Jersey schools were “not credible.”

Officials investigating suspected threats at a handful of New Jersey schools, including the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District and Dickenson High School in Jersey City. All of these threats were found to either be rumors or hoaxes.

In one case it was a misunderstanding. Authorities say that a hoax threat against a school in New Mexico caused Bayonne parents to panic and rush to the Bayonne High School to pick up their children. 

Police say the threat was made Wednesday by a 16-year-old student at Belen High School, about 30 south of Albuquerque. Authorities there say he wanted "to see what kind of response he would get."

The social media post allegedly made by the New Mexico teen threatened "BHS students,” the same initials as Bayonne High School. Bayonne school officials say about 500 students were pulled out of school early.

And in Nutley, a supposed threat made against a school last week resulted in a student being banned from the school.

Essex County officials say that Joseph Rafanello, 18, is charged with creating a false public alarm after posting a video to Instagram depicting gun violence.

Nutley schools were closed this week for winter break. School officials say that they plan to add new procedures to ensure safety.

All of the incidents come in the wake of a mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students and teachers were killed after a former student opened fire inside the school on Valentine’s Day. 

Survivors of the shooting have rallied across the country to call for greater gun control. Some of the survivors will attend a meeting with Sen. Bob Menendez in Livingston on Sunday.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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