Police launched an investigation Wednesday after a violent message was scrawled in graffiti on the blacktop of the student parking lot at Columbia High School.
The message referenced a gun and, “indicated the potential for violence and/or student self-harm,” South Orange Maplewood School District said in an email to parents Wednesday.
Pictures of the graffiti show the word “gun” and “bit.” The message read, “If they keep calling me a b–ch I’m getting a gun,” according to local news site, tapinto.net.
The school district did not confirm the message, which spanned about a length of a row of cars.
When students reported the graffiti to the district, school officials called the police. The Maplewood Police Department came and determined there was no imminent danger and a lockdown wasn’t necessary, district spokeswoman Suzanne Turner said.
Police did not return multiple requests for comment. Turner said they had not identified the person responsible for the graffiti as of Wednesday night.
By the time students left for the day, staff had removed the graffiti, Turner said.
The district asked parents in its email to contact a mental health provider if their child was showing signs of “undue” stress or anxiety.
The district also reminded parents of the contact information for its in-house counselors.
“It’s not just about discipline or disciplinary action, it’s also about finding out what’s going on and having to support them,” Turner said. “Something like this just doesn’t happen out of the blue, it happens because something’s going on.”
Sara Jerde may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SaraJerde.
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