Earlier today, the Hopewell Valley Regional School District sent out an alert that shortly before dismissal, an unidentified young man entered Central High School. The individual was confronted, the police were called and individual fled the CHS campus. The Police apprehended the individual and it was not believed that this person is an immediate threat; however, as a precaution, Central High School, Timberlane and Toll Gate were placed into lockdown. Police were on site at each of the buildings involved. Toll Gate dismissal took place at the normal time under police supervision, and transportation was somewhat delayed.
By way of update, Dr. Tom Smith, HVRSD Superintendent, released the following statement at 5:10pm, post-incident:
Dear Hopewell Valley Families,
Shortly before dismissal time, an unidentified young man entered Central High School. Our security cameras show that a student opened the door to allow the individual into the building. The individual was confronted by district staff who did not recognize him, the police were called at 2:44PM, and the individual fled the CHS campus as the dismissal bell rang. Toll Gate Grammar and TMS/CHS students who were still on campus for after school activities were placed into lockdown as a precaution.
At approximately 3:15PM, with the aid of the Lawrence Township Police Department, police apprehended the individual, who was identified as a 19 year old male from Lawrence who reported he was trying to visit a friend. At approximately 3:25PM, the police released all schools from lockdown. Toll Gate dismissal took place at the normal time under police supervision.
Based on the police investigation, we have no reason to believe this individual gained entry to CHS to cause harm. However, this incident underscores the importance of maintaining a secure campus. This includes not propping or opening an outside door for anyone. This will be reviewed with students and staff in all of our schools.
We are very appreciative of the efforts of our staff member who confronted this individual and the Hopewell Township, Pennington Borough and Lawrence Township Police Departments who apprehended the individual and investigated this situation.
Thomas A. Smith, Ed.D.