Friday, July 6, 2007

Former Janitor Cleans Out School, Stirs up Trouble


It was a bitingly chilly morning on October 27, 2006. And if anyone can attest to that, it’s the students of the Jefferson school system who had to stand outside in the cold after a bomb scare was called in to the Morris County Sheriff’s Dept. Communications Center.

But after an eight month investigation by the Jefferson Township Police, it turns out that former school janitor, John Weigel III, 24 of Parsippany, stirred up the trouble by making a false call. Charged by Det. James Caruso with terroristic threats, false public alarm, and a false 9-1-1, Mr. Weigel was released on a $10,000 bail. A motive as to why he made the threat in the first place is still up in the air.

“We issued a complaint and had a warrant written up,” says Lt. Eric Wilsusen.

It all occurred when Mr. Weigel called from a payphone at the Green Valley Shopping Center. He said that a bomb would go off at the high school at 10 a.m., which forced the police to move into action. A bomb squad was sent to the school to sniff it out.

The threat, which turned out to be completely spurious, stirred up some commotion with parents. Some were merely upset that the school wasn’t better prepared for such a scenario since it made the students stand outside while the bomb search took place. Others—a select few—were downright furious when their children were suspended after they left the school grounds prematurely before the school sent all the students home.
Still, at a school board meeting on April 30th that quickly followed the bomb scare, Superintendent Kathleen Fuchs didn’t apologize for her decision to suspend certain students from the school.


“I did it so similar threats don’t happen again on later occasions,” said Superintendent Fuchs at the meeting.


A trial date has yet to be determined.

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