South Orange and Maplewood School District Community,
Yesterday, the FBI released a warning regarding confirmed threats to Jewish places of worship in New Jersey. We were subsequently in contact with Chief Morrillo, South Orange Police Chief and Acting Maplewood Police Chief Sally who confirmed that they advised all Synagogues in our community to cancel in-person gatherings as a precaution. Discussions were also held with the District’s Director of Safety & Security, and updates were shared with the Board of Education. One of our District’s Pre-Kindergarten sites (Iris) was directly impacted by this circumstance, as such those students and staff do not have school today.
We are in full support of the joint release from our Townships (Statement on Threat to Synagogue). The District of South Orange and Maplewood and our Board of Education unequivocally stand with our Jewish Community and against hate, anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and bigotry. We remain steadfast in our commitment and embrace all of our District’s diversity as not only a strength but a pillar of our community.
We are relieved to share that this immediate threat to our community has been identified. This morning, the FBI shared the following update:
“We identified the subject and approached him last evening. He expressed radical extremist views and ideology and an extreme amount of hate towards the Jewish community.
We have a high level of confidence that the subject of interest is in fact the individual who posed this threat. He no longer poses a threat to the community at this time, and we have no indication of any outstanding threat affiliated with him or this investigation.”
I have requested that Dr. Gilbert, Assistant Superintendent for Access & Equity as well as Mr. Johnson, Supervisor of Early Childhood, prepare restorative opportunities for the students, families and staff of Iris upon their return so they can be made whole and feel our support.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools