Five fifth-grade students from Clifton, New Jersey, have been detained by police and suspended from school. The actions are in response to a bombing the students had planned for a nearby high school.
The AP reports that the fifth-graders, ages 10 and 11, had written up plans for how they were going to “cause damage” to a high school they would be taking a field trip to. Teachers found the plans and told authorities.
In addition to the plans, the students had brought a “device” to school that they planned to use.
New Jersey News 12 reports that the device had no explosive properties, as it contained vinegar and cinnamon and was determined “nonfunctioning”. Clifton Police do, however, believe that an “outside influence” helped the students with their scheme.
Detective Sargent Robert Bracken of the Clifton Police to NJ Advance Media that “[the plan] was not a prank. They had a legitimate plan.”
Bracken then told the NJ Advance Media that he is unsure what charges these children would face, but that the prosecutor’s office is reviewing the case.
The students were released back into the custody of their parents after being detained by the police. As for the remaining parents at the school, most were surprised to learn about the incident from news crews.
The Bergen Record quotes Pedro Puertas, who has a son at School 11, saying that he was “very concerned” about taking his son in to school this morning. He said he first heard about the plot while watching TV earlier. He considered keeping his son home.
Instead, Puertas went to the School 11 principal for answers, but found that “They didn’t have anything to say at this time.”
Meanwhile, shock spread through Clifton High School, the alleged target of the plot.
“...the fifth graders they’re so young...saying they’re going to bomb-threat the school. I couldn’t believe it at all,” Michael Deoremus, a Clifton High School student, told New Jersey News 12.