Thursday, June 4, 2015

UPDATE: Columbia High School Students Released from Lockdown, Student in Police Custody

Maplewood, New Jersey: Students and staff at Columbia High School on Parker Avenue in Maplewood have been released from a code yellow lockdown that lasted for over half an hour. Principal Elizabeth Aaron announced the lockdown at approximately 2:37pm during Period 9 at the school. During a code yellow lockdown, no student or staff member is permitted to leave the classroom. The lockdown concluded before 3:20pm, after the usual school conclusion time. Several officers of Maplewood Police Department responded to the school once the lockdown was in place. 

According to the Maplewood Police Department, the lockdown began after authorities learned that a ninth grade student was allegedly in possession of an airsoft gun and a kitchen knife. The student is currently in police custody.

In an email to parents, Principal Aaron and Acting Superintendent James Memoli said that the student "will not be returning to Columbia High School".

"The CHS administrative team is grateful for the swift and competent work of the Maplewood Police Department and for the Columbia students and staff who handled the 'Code Yellow' as has been practiced in school safety drills", said Memoli and Aaron.

Police officers remained on the streets surrounding the high school following the release of students.

Principal Aaron made an announcement to students this morning several hours before the lockdown regarding recent fights involving ninth grade students and other students on and near school property.

This is the third lockdown that has been held at Columbia High School in the 2014-15 school year. The school was placed under code red lockdown in November after a staff member reported that a student may have had a firearm in their possession. No firearm was found, though a student was arrested for possession of brass knuckles. A former student was charged with trespassing. In Feburary, the school was placed on code red lockdown due to an "incident that involved technology".

Several incidents have taken place at schools in the South Orange Maplewood School District within the past week. A Maplewood Middle School student was taken into police custody on Wednesday after allegedly bringing a loaded firearm to school. An online petition was formed by a Maplewood resident who is asking the school to hold an assembly regarding gun violence.

This story will be updated.

Send story ideas, letters to the editor, and photos to
Follow us on Twitter - @PlaceNJ
Like us on Facebook - Essex County Place
Click here to advertise on, starting at just $49.