Monday, November 10, 2014

Lockdown Concluded at Columbia High School, Student Arrested

Update 7:51pm: 
Columbia High School in Maplewood was on code red lockdown today for nearly two hours. According to Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino, a student was arrested in a classroom for allegedly bringing brass knuckles to school. At a press conference, Chief Cimino said that a CHS staff member called police at approximately 12:30pm to report that a weapon was present in the school.

Chief Cimino added that there was "great cooperation of the students...(and)...great cooperation of the staff".

A lockdown alarm was activated in the school at approximately 12:40pm. The school remained in lockdown until 2:20pm. There were no reported injuries.

Acting Superintendent James Memoli sent an email to parents at approximately 5:00pm. "The safety of our staff and students remains our first priority", said Memoli.

According to a press release from the Maplewood Police Department, "anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact the Maplewood Police Department Youth Aid Bureau at 973-762-3400".


Update 2:21pm: Lockdown has concluded. 

At approximately 2:20pm,  a Maplewood Police lieutenant told students and staff that the "lockdown is officially over".

At least one student is rumored to be in custody.

Healy told staff members that there would be an emergency meeting after school.


Update 2:10pm: Columbia High School in Maplewood is under Code Red lockdown. A lockdown alarm went off in the school at approximately 12:41pm. Assistant Principal Michael Healy informed students that this is an "Active Shooter" lockdown.  

The alarm sounded for at least ten minutes.

South Orange and Maplewood Police conducted a security sweep of the building. Healy announced to students that there are 12 teams of officers. Officers entered classrooms at approximately 1:20pm and asked students and staff to remain in their classrooms. As of 1:49pm. Healy asked students and staff to remain in their classrooms until police officers unlock the classroom door. 

"Please stay in place", Assistant Principal Charles Ezell announced to students at approximately 1:30pm, adding that "everything is okay".  

The alarm went off during Period 7, which is a lunch period at the school. Several students were outside of the building when the siren sounded. CHS does not normally conduct lockdown drills during lunch periods.

As on 1:25pm: Columbia High School in Maplewood is under Code Red lockdown. A lockdown alarm went off in the school at approximately 12:41pm. will continue to report live from inside the building.


Acting Superintendent James Memoli sent the following email to parents during the lockdown:

A code red “lockdown” was ordered this afternoon at Columbia High School by the Maplewood Police Department as a precautionary measure.  All students are safe and everything is under control.  Additional details will be provided as soon as they are available.


Email from Acting Superintendent James Memoli after the lockdown:

Shortly before 1 p.m. today, a code red “lockdown” was ordered at Columbia High School. High school administration had been informed of a potential threat involving a CHS student and a former CHS student possibly involving weapons. The administration notified the Maplewood Police who then initiated the code red as a precautionary measure. South Orange Police were onsite to assist. The police conducted an organized search of the building and one student was apprehended. The police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this event. Code red procedures were followed with police going door to door to check all rooms before clearing the code red. Many students were outside the school because the lockdown began during a lunch period. Security guards and administrators were outside with the students. Nobody was harmed during this event. We appreciate the cooperation of the police departments, the staff, the students and the building administrators. Parents and guardians of our students can be assured that the school administration works closely with and cooperates fully with law enforcement during such an event. The safety of our staff and students remains our first priority.



The supervisor of security at CHS told that "I hate that it happened, but the response was excellent". Read more here.

Columbia High School Principal Elizabeth Aaron criticized media coverage of the lockdown and the arrest of teacher Nicole Dufault. Read more here

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