FRANKLIN TWP., N.J. - A 10-year-old student has admitted to sending threatening emails to teachers and principals that caused the closure of three Gloucester County school districts on Thursday, police say.
According to authorities, the Franklin Township School District student made threats saying there would be a shooting today and tomorrow at two different schools.
He is being charged with making terroristic threats and causing false public alarm.
Police say they are seeking psychological help for the boy and then he will be released to his parents.
Authorities received a call around 1:30 a.m. from a Ritter Caroline L. Reutter School teacher about an email that threatened a shooting at the school Thursday. They say the child must have been up around 1 a.m. making these threats.
Police contacted administration from Franklin Township School District and nearby Delsea Regional School District.
"We determined the best action to take would be to cancel school for the day until we determine who the threat was made by and the legitimacy of the threat," Franklin Township Police Lt. Matt Decesari said.
Elk Township schools also canceled classes because it shares buses with the districts.
Approximately 4,000 students were impacted.
While the investigation was ongoing, Decesari said the person continued to send emails.
The principal at Main Road School received an email about a shooting threatened for Friday. Emails were also sent to the superintendent and other teachers in the district, police said.
Subpoenas were sent out to the email provider and phone companies. Police were able to track down the suspect to a Franklinville address.
"Myself, other detectives went out to the residence in Franklinville and we took into custody a 10-year-old student of this school district," Decesari said. "At this time, he has admitted to making these threats toward the school."
Earlier this week, Decesari said police investigated another threat that came in over the weekend.
In that case, police were able to identify two Delsea High School students who made the threat and interviewed them on Monday.
"They were quickly identified and charged," Decesari said.
Active shooter drills and assembly meetings on the subject have become a new norm for today's younger generation. But with this latest scare coming on the heels of the Florida school massacre, the threat is hitting a little too close to home.
"I really don't understand why somebody would do it; there's really no purpose to it, no point," student Julian Rivers said. "It could still happen again, it can always happen again."
The police lieutenant had a message for parents.
"You need to speak to your children and let them know this isn't acceptable. If they hear something or see something, they need to say something to an adult," Decesari said.
Franklin Township police investigate school threat
Miles away in Upper Darby, another scare prompted a lockdown at Beverly Hills Middle School. A student displayed a pellet gun on the way to school. It never made its way into the building and was found on a side street. Still, parents rushed to retrieve their children.
Gary Francis of Upper Darby, Pa said, "I got really scared. I got real nervous cause there's a lot of school shootings going on and stuff like that."
Back in Franklin Township, parents and students said they too were upset by the threat especially in the aftermath of the deadly school shooting in Florida.
Julian Rivers, a Delsea High senior said, "Kids died in Florida. People that joke around about this. They don't understand that it hurts other people."
Edward Gregar of Franklinville, NJ said, "I didn't even expect this and it's pretty crazy nowadays that you gotta worry about this type of stuff at school."
In Upper Darby, the lockdown was lifted this morning.
All three school districts, Franklin Township, Delsea and Elk will all return to normal operations tomorrow with a police presence on hand.
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