UPDATE: Tenafly police tonight said they will identity and possibly prosecute whomever scrawled the word “bomb” on a high school bathroom wall — which forced an evacuation and brought the Bergen County bomb squad, a K9 unit and local police this afternoon.
“Our department will look to identify the source as well as the intent of the author,” Police Capt. Michael deMoncada said. “If warranted, we will look to have the individual prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Several years ago, he recalled, a group of teens in a similar instance were sentenced to extended probation and fined more than $2,000 to cover the emergency response after detectives identified them.
“Schools also often have the ability to expel students found responsible for these types of false threats,” deMoncada said. “These types of penalties are put in place to deter anyone from thinking that this type of behavior is acceptable.”
The call came in 1:40 p.m. today after a student discovered the writing.
Tenafly police restricted access to the area while students and faculty were evacuated. Everyone was allowed to return at 3 p.m.
Detectives were interviewing students and school personnel and reviewing surveillance video.
“It’s unfortunate that someone thought that scrawling the word ‘bomb’ in a school bathroom was an appropriate way to communicate their frustrations or opinions,” deMoncada said. “However, these types of situations are never a joke.
“Quite frankly, we don’t have any other reasonable explanation for someone writing the word ‘bomb’ in a school bathroom, other than to incite fear, panic, and to cause the evacuation of the building,” the captain said.
“In this case, we requested a full compliment of emergency services to respond in the event an actual bomb had been discovered.
“It takes valuable resources off of the road, costs time and money, and most importantly puts peoples’ lives in danger,” he said.