In the late morning of Friday, April 1st, during the Asian Festival, RHS was put under lockdown because of a called in bomb threat.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., the Ridgewood Police Department received the call.
According to Mr. Bourque, the freshman class grade advisor, the anonymous threat led to a schoolwide lockdown issued by the School Resource Office. School administrators made sure lockdown procedures were followed.
“We were able to pretty quickly determine that there was not an actual threat and then we transitioned the school”, stated Mr. Bourque. After about eighteen minutes of lockdown, the school transitioned into a modified lockdown, also known as a shelter in place, while police searched the school.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad and the K-9 unit came to RHS soon after the threat and were the ones to check the building and outside for any threat. The fire department was also involved. Within an hour, the school was back to normal.
After the event, Ridgewood Public Schools superintendent Dr. Gorman sent out an email update on the situation, which was followed up by one from RHS Principal Nyhuis.
Further investigation by the police over the past week revealed that several school districts received bomb threats.
“It was a little bit scary ‘cause we knew that Asian Fest was going on so we kind of all just assumed that it wasn’t a drill, because of the timing”, said Lunamia Bolanos, a senior at RHS.
According to Kaho Yamamoto, a freshman participating in the Asian Festival, “everyone thought it was a joke because two minutes before it happened the commentator was like ‘Oh, Asian Fest is actually over,’ and then she was like ‘April Fools!’ And then two minutes later the alarm came on”.
Everyone sat quietly during the lockdown, and once it was switched to a shelter in place, the performances continued. Although not planned, audience members were able to immerse themselves in the experience by getting up on stage to participate in some of the demonstrations along with the performers.
People learned of the bomb threat before it was officially announced at school through means such as social media, including students who had been outside because of a free period posted images and videos on social media. Parents also informed their kids with the information sent out to them. Additionally, some false rumors circulated through such media platforms about the cause of the lockdown.
The bomb threat ended up being a false alarm and RHS went back to its regular activities, including the Asian Festival.
Sonia Berman, Staff Writer
Graphic: Tyler Minn