BEYOND BERGEN: A report of a gun brought to an Essex County high school today ended with no weapon found and five students detained for unrelated reasons, West Caldwell Police Chief Michael J. Bramhall said tonight.
New Jersey State Police joined the investigation at the Essex Valley School, which was locked down just after noon when a staffer reported that a student had a gun, Bramhall said.
The last student wasn’t released until 6 p.m. or so.
The chief issued a statement tonight:
“The West Caldwell Police Department and all other assisting emergency response assets have completed the investigation at Essex Valley School, 1 Henderson Drive, West Caldwell, NJ. No firearms were located in the school.
“The five detained students were released at the scene and charges are pending, which are unrelated to the initial investigation.
“After the school was cleared, the other students and staff completed the lock-down drill and the student transportation was coordinated by the school administration.”
West Caldwell officers raced to the school “as a result of information received from a school staff member that a student attending school had a gun in their possession,” Bramhall said in a statement. Those from other departments joined within minutes.
Gov. Christie had a Town Hall meeting in nearby Fairfield that began around 1 o’clock, about the same time that police received the report.
“The weapon was not witnessed by any staff members,” the chief said this afternoon. “The information was brought to the attention of a staff member by another student.”
“As a precaution a lock-down procedure is in effect and a thorough search of the school is under way,” Bramhall said in a later statement. “As of this afternoon no weapon has been located and the search is continuing room by room.
“The West Caldwell Police Department is being assisted by neighboring police departments and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit. A follow-up statement will be made upon conclusion of the incident.”
Essex Valley bills itself as a “therapeutic alternative” for students who’ve had problems in traditional schools and offers one-on-one counseling and vocational mentoring.