The threatening call was left on an answering service for the Paramus Board of Education during the early morning hours, before Paramus schools opened for the day. According to authorities, the threat was issued against Paramus NJ schoolchildren and did not specify a particular school in Paramus, New Jersey.
Shortly after learning of the threat, Paramus NJ officials took swift action and evacuated all district schools.
While authorities investigated the threatening phone call, Richard LaBarbiera, the Paramus NJ mayor, posted a Facebook message and addressed concerned parents. The Paramus mayor said that local police were doing everything to ensure that “all of the students are 100 percent safe.” He also said that he understood the parents might be feeling anxious and worried because he is a parent himself.
The investigation into the threatening call remains active and ongoing. However, authorities have already determined that the threat was probably a hoax.
In January 2016, Bergen County authorities locked down or evacuated 26 different schools after receiving an automated phone threat. It was later determined that the threat was also a hoax.
If Paramus investigators can eventually identify the person who made the latest threat, it is likely that the culprit would face criminal charges for making terroristic threats. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, anyone who threatens to commit a crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another person or to cause evacuation of a building can be charged with a third degree crime. A conviction on third degree terroristic threats charges could lead to a sentence of 3-5 years in NJ State Prison.
For more information about this case, access the NJ.com article, “Hoax Threat Forces Evacuation of Paramus Schools.”