BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood was placed on a temporary soft lockdown Friday morning as a precaution following a vague, non-specific threat made by a student.
According to Capt. Mark Wachter, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, the threat was expressed by one student to another through a text message. The student, described as a special needs child with a history of medical issues, was upset after being asked to leave a basketball game on the school’s premises the day before.
“It was one kid that was expressing his frustration,” Wachter explained. “He texted his friend: ‘don’t come to school tomorrow because I’m going to go in there and hurt a lot of people.’”
The student who received the text message told school administrators, who then alerted the authorities. The precinct mobilized their School Safety and Counterterrorism units, as well as extra uniformed officers to the school, as a precaution.
“There was no viable threat; just a kid who ranted to another kid,” Wachter added. “The school was never in any danger. We put extra resources to school just in case he would show up.”
According to Wachter, the student never arrived at school. Officers from the 104th Precinct and the Counterterrorism unit were deployed to the child’s house where they found him. The student was brought to the school for questioning and then taken to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
False reports swarmed social media on Friday morning regarding the situation at the school, prompting many parents and local residents to fear the worst.
Wachter refuted rumors of police helicopters circling the school. He stated that a large-scale response or emergency services were not required, as the police had not only determined the student’s location, but deemed the threat non-viable. According to Wachter, the helicopters people reported seeing were actually news copters and not the NYPD.
According to school administrators, the school is getting back to business after the eventful morning.
“Parents came to pick up their child or just to see that they were fine,” one source at the school explained. “All is good and back to normal now.”
Wachter insisted that Grover Cleveland was never in any danger.
“We knew where student was, so the school was never in any immediate threat,” he explained. “He had no means of doing it, and no access to weapons or firearms. It was just one kid ranting to another kid in class. We definitely get involved, but an arrest is not warranted. The kid just needed medical help.”