Parents, Guardians, and Staff,
I would like to share with the community the timeline and the security steps we took in an abundance of caution in keeping our staff and students safe at Deerfield School yesterday:
- At 8:24 am yesterday, I received a call from Mrs. Salazar, Principal of Deerfield School to tell me of an anonymous threat regarding Deerfield School, through a recorded phone message left over the weekend that was received on Monday morning.
- The caller left a non-specific threat of damage to Deerfield School. The Millburn Police and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office were called to address the threat.
- We then had staff evacuate the building and implemented an emergency 2-hr. delay. Messages were sent out to staff and students’ families to alert them of the delay.
- We knew students were on their way to school, both on buses, and with their parents. Parents who arrived at school were advised of the delay.
- Buses carrying our Deerfield elementary students were re-routed to the HS football stadium.
- The High School administration was alerted that the buses from Deerfield would be
arriving with students who needed to be escorted to the football stadium.
- As the Deerfield staff arrived at the HS, they were directed to the stands where the students would soon be arriving to address their questions and assure them that we were taking steps to be sure that their school was ready for them to attend.
- Deerfield and Ed Center administrators were dispatched to the High School to immediately begin the reunification process with families.
- Parents of bus students were notified that if they wished to pick up their child they could come to the high school to get them.
- Other students remained at the high school stadium with Deerfield staff and administrators.
- The remaining buildings were notified of the situation, and administrators were asked to be on alert for anything unusual, while school activities continued as normal.
- At Deerfield, the Millburn Police Department, in conjunction with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, did a thorough threat assessment of the building and provided the all-clear just before 10:00 am. After a review of the phone message by the police and security personnel, they deemed the threat was not credible, yet affirmed our response to the threat was appropriate.
- Families were then alerted that we would be resuming the school day and that the students who were still at the High School would be returning to Deerfield.
- Communications to the Deerfield families and the entire school community were sent to address the response to the threat and that school would resume for the remainder of the day.
I want to thank Mrs. Salazar, Dr. Berger, the entire Deerfield staff, and Deerfield families for all of their cooperation, professionalism and incredible dedication during this event.
Thanks to the Millburn Police and the Sheriff’s Departments, and our own district security staff for their prompt response to my call yesterday morning, and for their continued support during the day.
Many thanks to the STA bus company for their diligence in getting students to, from, and back to Deerfield School, and to the Ed Center and High School administrators and security staff who jumped in to help address the needs of the students who arrived at their driveway yesterday morning.
I want the Deerfield families and the entire school community to know that the many hours of drills and training that have been undertaken in the district were followed yesterday and they worked. An associate from the Stonegate Security company commended the district for the successful implementation of our emergency plans. We will be debriefing today to review, and to enhance our planning for a similar emergency incident in the future.
Once again, I want to thank all of the Deerfield community for your support and cooperation.
Dr. Christine Burton
Superintendent of Schools