Barnegat Police Chief: No Credible Threat of Violence at Brackman Middle School

May 28, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill Russell O. Brackman Middle School

An investigation by the Barnegat Township Police Department revealed that there was no threat of an incident at the Russell Brackman Middle School following a post on social media.

Police Chief Keith Germain said that on May 22,  a subject who lives in Florida posted a clip of the movie “Scarface” on social media along with the text referencing that it was going to “get lit” that night. A 13-year old Brackman seventh-grade student then responded to that subject’s post by writing “it’s gonna get lit at school tomorrow.”

Germain said the response made no sense to the original poster in Florida, but he found it strange enough that he shared it with a friend who is a student in the Barnegat district. At this point, the original post and the response from the Brackman seventh-grader began circulating among Barnegat students via social media.

“Kids being good detectives took the initiative to search through the seventh-grader’s other social media posts and found a video that the seventh-grader posted a week ago of a male subject shooting a stuffed animal with a shotgun,” said Germain in a press release. “It was originally believed by the students that the subject in the video was the Brackman seventh-grader. It was later determined that the video was pulled from the internet and that the subject shooting the stuffed animal was not the seventh-grader or any other local student.”

Germain said the Barnegat students at that point did “exactly what we would want them to do” by forwarding and sharing the social media posts and their concerns with parents, district teachers and the police department.

“Our officers were able to work with the district to identify the seventh-grader,” he said. “Officers responded to the student’s house and spoke with him and a parent. It was determined that the student was referencing having a good time at school and was not in any way threatening violence. Out of an abundance of caution, however, our officers conducted a thorough search of the residence. The officers found an Airsoft toy gun and an antique sword. Both items were secured by officers for safekeeping.”

Germain added, “In summary, there was no threat ever made against the school district, nor was there any video of the seventh-grader or any other local student shooting a stuffed animal. I am thoroughly satisfied that there is no threat to the district schools or students. I want to commend the students who came forward for their maturity and leadership in taking immediate action when they felt that there was a threat to the district. Such action gives me great confidence in our students and the job that we’re doing as a community to prevent violence in our schools.”

District Superintendent Karen Wood declined comment, referring questions to Germain.

— Eric Englund

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