YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A local juvenile was responsible for an unfounded online threat of bringing a weapon to Ridgewood High School, following an investigation that included the FBI and law enforcement authorities from at least two other states, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
FBI agents were at Ridgewood police headquarters this morning, officers were posted inside and outside the school and preparations were made for bringing in portable metal scanners as the source was tracked.
“There is no threat to the safety of our children,” village Police Chief John Ward said in a prepared statement.
Officials with YikYak.com, a social networking app for young people where the post was made, cooperated fully, authorities said.
Yik Yak has been the source of similar threats that had led to lockdowns of high schools in Orange County, Calif., Mobile, Ala. and Marblehead, Mass.
Yik Yak officials immediately blocked Ridgewood High School from the app after being notified, a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
The boy “posted an anonymous rant last night about bringing a weapon to school,” the source said. “An alert parent noticed it and notified police and the school.”
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office joined the FBI, village police and at least two out-of-state agencies in tracing the source.
The boy, it turns out, has been in trouble before, local sources said. Investigators issued him a juvenile complaint after obtaining a search warrant for his house. The complaint is answerable in the Family Part of Superior Court in Hackensack.
“Upon receiving the information late last night from an alert parent, the board of education under the direction of Dr. Fishbein and the Ridgewood Police Department took immediate actions to ensure the safety of our children, conduct an extensive investigation into the matter and locate the source of the Internet posting,” Ward, the police chief, said in a release.
“As this is an ongoing investigation we are only able to confirm that the poster has been identified and we are proceeding with a joint investigation between the school and police department,” Ward said.
“We would like to make clear that the village takes any potential threat to the safety of our children very seriously and will employ all resources to ensure their safety,” the chief added. “We do our best to provide timely and accurate information to the public without causing undo alarm.”
He thanked “the various local, county, state and federal agencies who have and continue to provide assistance with this investigation, as well as our parents for their vigilance and support.”
Ridgewood Schools Superintendent Daniel Fishbein added: “There is no doubt that apps will continue to cause problems for schools and parents. However, despite these challenges, technology is an overall positive enhancement to our lives that is here to stay.
“As parents and educators we need to keep our lines of communication open and work together to teach our children what is appropriate and what is not.”