Lawrence schools locked down due to bomb threat

The Benjamin Franklin Elementary School was evacuated and the rest of the schools in the Lawrence Township Public School District were locked down after a threatening phone call was made to the Main Office at the elementary school on Princeton Pike on Dec. 7.

The caller said there were six pipe bombs in the school, and a few minutes after the 10:25 a.m. call was made to the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, someone called the Lawrenceville Elementary School on Craven Lane that indicated a man with a rifle was coming to the school, according to officials.

An additional call was made to The Lawrenceville School, stating that bombs had been placed on the campus, according to the Lawrence Township Police Department.  The private, co-educational boarding school was evacuated.

Lawrence Township Public School District officials reported the calls to the Lawrence Township Police Department and also evacuated Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, according to Superintendent of Schools Ross Kasun.

The Lawrenceville Elementary School was put into lockdown status, which was extended to the other schools in the public school district as a safety precaution. Also, Notre Dame High School and St. Ann’s School were also put into lockdown status, police said.

Using K9s, police searched Benjamin Franklin Elementary School and the other locations that received a threatening call to ensure that they were safe. Nothing suspicious was found, police said.

Kasun said police officers were stationed at the other public school buildings as a precaution until the lockdown was lifted shortly before noon.

Police investigated the calls and discovered that similar calls were made to schools across the state, Kasun said. Based on that information, police determined that there was no credible threat to the Lawrence schools, he said.

Once the lockdown was lifted, a normal school day schedule was resumed, Kasun said.

“Our partnership with the police cepartment is excellent,” Kasun said, adding that he, too, had heard from colleagues elsewhere that similar calls were made to school districts in New Jersey.

Kasun also praised the staff for their response, noting that “we practice for a reason.” It was an excellent showing of the drills that school district personnel have practiced, he said.