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Front shot of Nutley High School

Security Threat Reported at NHS Following Parkland Shooting

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, one day after the Parkland, FL school shooting, a security threat was reported and investigated at Nutley High School. It was determined that the threat was made by a NHS senior, Joseph Rafanello. The threat was a video on Instagram which was discovered by other NHS students. The students alerted the NHS administration that evening.


Later that evening, the Nutley Public School district canceled all schools and school activities for the next day, Friday, February 16, 2018. The cancellation of all Nutley schools was a decision made by district’s Superintendent, Dr. Julie Glazer. The decision was a precaution to keep the staff and students safe, until the threat could be investigated.


The Nutley Police and Essex County Sheriff performed investigations on all Nutley schools and came to the conclusion that all buildings were safe and there was no threat to the students and staff. The following days after this occurrence, the Nutley Public Schools and NHS administration communicated with the parents, staff and the community, worked with the police to review security procedures in place and offered counseling to students and staff, if needed. Eighteen-year-old, Joseph Rafanello, was arrested and charged with fabricating false public alarm in the third degree.


Since then, the Nutley Public School District has moved forward with safety and security reviews and actions. To enhance security, the district is working on preparations, drills, law enforcement partnership, practices, and reviews. NHS staff and students are required to have their school ID visible at all times. “Security is an ongoing process here in Nutley High School, as it is in the district,” said NHS Principal, Mr. Denis Williams. “We have a security plan that's been vetted by the State Department of Education, we go through our drills, we look through all our pieces, and we've made our adjustments. It's a continuous assessment.”


The schools reopened on Monday, February 26, with increased police presence. NHS has taken additional steps to provide a safe environment for the students and is continuing to expand for the future.