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Schools on alert Friday after gun threat

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Someone fired off their mouth, but little else.

It was business as usual for students at three Southern Brooklyn high schools on Feb. 28, even after threats of a school shooting surfaced on social media.

“School was chill. Nothing happened,” said Hamza Murtza, a student at James Madison High School.

The schools called students’ parents on Feb. 27 warning there had been threats of a shooting at James Madison, Edward R. Murrow, and Midwood high schools.

Police said an individual posted a status update on Facebook referencing school shootings and the three high schools. The post passed through several channels before a concerned parent called 911.

Police investigated and determined the threat was not a serious one and the threat may have been a repost of an older message, a department spokesman said. But the NYPD increased its presence in and around the schools as a precaution, he said.

Most students didn’t take the threat too seriously, they said.

“I think it was kind of over-hyped,” said Madison’s Jay Melvin. “I wasn’t worried about coming to school or anything.”

“Many people felt indifferent,” said Murrow’s Albert Wu. “People thought it was fake — they didn’t pay any attention.”

Some parents, however, paid the threats more heed, and students said there were more empty chairs than usual that day.

“One third of my class wasn’t in school,” said Lisa Dong, a student at Murrow.

Police will maintain a stronger presence around the schools for the next few days, a spokesperson said. The Department of Education issued a statement saying it is working with police to investigate the reported threats. It declined to comment on protocol for handling such threats.

The threats caused some confusion among parents and students, but school officials tried to maintain normalcy despite lower attendance and increased police presence.

“It was just a regular school day,” said James Madison High School assistant principal Jason Marino.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Posted 12:00 am, March 3, 2014
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