Five fifth-graders were detained in New Jersey amid a plot to “detonate a device” during a school field trip. Authorities confirmed the children, who are between the ages of 10 and 11-years-old, “had a legitimate plan,” to activate the device while visiting Clifton High School. Although it is unclear what motivated the planned attack, officials said the children actually built the device and brought it to school.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, administrators at New Jersey’s School 11 found written plans — which suggested several students built, and planned to detonate, an unknown device during an upcoming field trip.
In an interview with NorthJersey.com, Clifton Police Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken confirmed the children’s “intent was to bring the device to [Clifton High School] and cause damage inside the auditorium, where people were.”
According to Bracken, the device was eventually located inside School 11 and contained. However, the object was later determined to be non-explosive.
Although several news agencies are reporting the device contained cinnamon and vinegar, Bracken did not confirm the rumors.
Detective Bracken said the students at Clifton High School and School 11 would not have been harmed by the device. However, the situation is nevertheless disturbing — as the children “thought it was capable of doing damage.”
— FOX 61 (@FOX61News) December 3, 2015
The five fifth-graders were detained by authorities amid the investigation. However, they were eventually released into their parents’ custody without further incident. Although the children were suspended from school, it is unclear whether they will face criminal charges as the investigation into the planned attack is ongoing.
Parents of School 11 students are specifically concerned, as school administrators did not inform them about the disturbing plot. Unfortunately, many parents were alerted to the situation by news crews — which were outside the school on Thursday morning.
Pedro Puertas, who is the father of a third-grade student, said he asked to speak to the principal about the incident. However, he was told school officials “didn’t have anything to say at this time.”
The names of the fifth-graders who were detained amid the investigation were not disclosed, as they are all under the age of 18.
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) December 3, 2015
As reported by Pix11, authorities believe the children “had outside help and got their ideas from other events.” However, they have not disclosed a possible motive.
The fifth-grader’s plan to detonate a device, which was expected to cause damage, is specifically disturbing in the wake of recent terrorist attacks and mass murders. However, rampage attacks are a specific concern in schools, where perpetrators have an opportunity to kill numerous children en masse.
The deadliest attack on a school in the Unites States was committed at a school in Bath, Michigan, by 44-year-old Andrew Phillip Kehoe in 1927.
As reported by Biography, Kehoe rigged the Bath Consolidated School with dynamite on the morning of May 18.
Shortly after the children, and their teachers, arrived at the school, Kehoe detonated the explosives. In the resulting blast, 44 were killed and 58 were injured.
As he was also killed in the blast, it is unclear what motivated Kehoe to kill so many children. However, authorities believe the farmer was angry — as he was forced to pay taxes which were used to build the school.
In the United States alone, hundreds of school children have been injured or killed in rampage attacks. Although the fifth-graders in New Jersey were unable to build a working explosive device, there intent to do so is terribly disturbing.
Authorities confirmed the School 11 fifth-graders were detained and questioned about the planned attack on Clifton High School. However, they have not discussed any whether the children, or their parents, will face criminal charges.
[Image via Shutterstock/Andrey Bayda]