Students affected by threatening calls

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 00:59:44-05

After threatening phone calls put dozens of schools across the U.S. on lockdown, including three schools locally, students were hitting the books again ton Wednesday. However, school officials say they didn’t necessarily go back to normal.

Greenfield Union School District's assistant superintendent, Ken Chichester, said the routine of the day is thrown off when a school is placed on lockdown. Teachers have to rearrange their schedules and parents are not allowed to pick up their kids, but he says the biggest impact is on the students. 

"The days of kids seeing it as a joke, I think those are gone. But to some kids, it's very traumatic and very scary for them," said Chichester. 

Horizon Elementary School and Discovery Elementary School both received threatening calls Tuesday. The superintendent of Fruitvale Unified School District, Mary Westendorf, said this is the third call the school has received in the last year. She said all of them sounded computer generated too.

"What really makes me most angry is what it does to the kids and the staff. The kids are -- they're scared," said Westendorf.

She said Discovery Elementary had counselors on site today to help the students process the situation. 

"With everything that happens in the news, they're so aware of everything that goes on," said Westendorf. "Then when it hits home, even though it's a hoax, when it hits home -- at their own school it is very, very frightening for them."

A spokesperson with the Bergen County Sheriff's Department told 23ABC they believe the call was routed through Bakersfield, but wouldn't provide any additional information. 

However, Sgt. Gary Carruesco said BPD doesn't know why the New Jersey officials believe that.

"We have no indication that that is true. We haven't been contacted by anyone to say that the call came from here locally, so I don't know where they're getting their information."

As for the local investigation into the threatening calls – Sgt. Carruesco said there isn’t much more they can do.

"We don't have any information to go off of. We don't have a phone number, we don't have an IP address or anything of that nature to trace back," Sgt. Carruesco said.

Sgt. Carruesco said BPD is trying to contact the east coast officials to see if they have evidence suggesting there the call was linked to Bakersfield, that way they can assist in the investigation.