‘Indirect’ Threat Against FMS Sampson G. Smith Campus Under Investigation

Franklin Middle School – Sampson G. Smith campus principal Evelyn Rutledge, foreground, told parents that an “indirect” threat against the school was found to be not credible. (File photo).

Township police are investigating an “indirect” threat made against Franklin Middle School’s Sampson G. Smith campus.

The threat was found to be not credible, and did not interfere with the school opening on December 10, according to a December 10 letter to parents sent by school principal Evelyn Rutledge.

The threat was made the evening of December 9, according to Rutledge’s letter.

“So you are aware, last night a threat was made indirectly referencing our school,” she wrote. “This incident was promptly addressed by the district and the Franklin Township Police Department.”

“Please know, however, that there was no credible threat to the school found which would have prevented our campus opening this morning,” Rutledge wrote.

There was no further information given about the threat.

“There is an ongoing investigation,” FTPD Capt. Philip Rizzo said in an email. “We cannot discuss the incident any further at this point.”

The threat comes in the wake of a December 8 letter to parents from Orvyl Wilson, the district’s Director of School management, in which he wrote about “recent national incidents that have been highlighted in the news involving students making inappropriate posts on social media, engaging in dangerous and unhealthy Tik Tok challenges, and writing and/or posting threats of harm either to themselves or others.”

Tik Tok is a social media app that allows users to make 15-, 30- and 60-second videos, and also to broadcast live to followers.

“Please understand that we take all potential threats seriously and work in concert with the Franklin Township Police Department to insure the safety of all of our students and staff,” Wilson wrote. “Students who engage in these types of activities will be subject to exclusion from school until they can be evaluated to determine what supports or services they may need immediately and what services or supports the student may need to return to school.”

“Additionally, behavior that constitutes violations of the District Student Code of Conduct will result in appropriate disciplinary consequences consistent with the Student Code of Conduct and BOE policy,” he wrote.

District spokeswoman Mary Clark said in an email that Wilson’s letter was not prompted by any incident in the schools.

“The letter from Mr. Wilson was a proactive effort for student families to be aware of recent national events and social media trends,” she wrote. “Now that students are back in the school buildings, the district continues to respond to student behavior according to the Code of Conduct as has typically been done.”

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