BARNEGAT – Police said that the report of a threat at the Russell O. Brackman Middle School was unfounded, but thanked residents for reporting the issue.
Barnegat police assured parents, students, and staff that there was no risk to Barnegat. Police Chief Keith Germain said he shared the details of the investigation to be as transparent as possible, and to make sure everyone has accurate information.
The incident began when a person in Florida posted a clip of the movie “Scarface” on social media, stating that it was going to “get lit” tonight. A 13-year-old Brackman seventh grader responded “it’s gonna get lit at school tomorrow.”
The person in Florida thought this was a strange response, and shared it with a friend who is a student in Barnegat. This caused it to be shared with lots of students in Barnegat.
“Kids being good detectives took the initiative to search through the 7th grader’s other social media posts and found a video that the 7th grader posted a week ago of a male subject shooting a stuffed animal with a shotgun,” the chief wrote. “It was originally believed by the students that the subject in the video was the Brackman 7th grader (it was later determined that the video was pulled from the internet and that the subject shooting the stuffed animal was not the 7th grader nor any other local student).”
Germain thanked the students for reporting the video and their concerns with parents, teachers, and the police.
This led officers to come to the house and speak to the 7th grader and a parent. The student said he was only talking about having a good time at school, and wasn’t threatening violence at all.
“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,” he said.
Germain reiterated that there was no threat made against the school, and there was no video of a local student shooting a stuffed animal.
“I am thoroughly satisfied that there is no threat to the district schools or students,” he said. “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.”