A group of fifth graders who were reportedly arrested on December 3, following the discovery of a plan to bomb their local high school, are now being prosecuted, and the information revealed is painting a story of a victimized student. The elementary school students have relayed that it was because of a friend allegedly being bullied at his high school that they sought to take revenge with their bomb plot.
The 10- and 11-year-old New Jersey students were allegedly upset that a friend who attends the high school that was at the center of the bomb plot was being bullied. The cops detained five children on Wednesday when teachers called the police to report that they had discovered a detailed set of plans to put a bomb in Clifton High School during an assembly. Clifton Police Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken advised reporters on Thursday that the students’ intent was to bring the device to the high school and cause damage inside the auditorium.
Only four of those five students involved were brought before the court on Thursday, as authorities confirmed that the fifth student was the high schooler who was being bullied. He will reportedly face no form of punishment as the student was found to have no knowledge of the plot. Reports are that the bullied student was friends with at least one of the four elementary school fifth graders who were involved in the bomb plot.
In defence of the four children who had planned to bomb the high school, Passaic County Prosecutor Carmen Valdes spoke of their plans being nothing more than immature and unrealistic. It turns out that the “device” the children intended to use to cause harm at the high school was a mixture of common household ingredients and was in no way actually dangerous.
New Jersey authorities confirmed on Friday that the fifth graders had filled an empty Altoids mint tin with salad dressing, vegetable oil, and cinnamon sticks to use as the bomb and no explosive materials were actually involved.
The Miami Herald wrote that Valdes went on to say that the device was not flammable nor dangerous and that the ingredients would never have been lit either since none of the fifth graders had a match or a lighter in their possession. Valdes also stated that at no time were any students in actual danger. While some persons have maintained that the incident is surely a prank, authorities will not dismiss it so easily as the fact remains that the students thought they would do harm with their makeshift bomb.
Though none of the children have officially been arrested or charged, they will have to enter into an agreement with the Clifton Police Department. The agreement is a mandatory one, and should any of the four fifth grade students fail to follow the requirements of the agreement, they could face charges. The students, who are not being identified because they are minors, were reportedly released into the custody of their parents and were also suspended from their elementary school.
The students will all have to undergo mandatory counselling which will be under an agreement called a station house adjustment. According to NJ.com a station house adjustment is what is often reserved for first-time offenders and serves as an alternative to formal prosecution. Before any of them are allowed to return to school, they will be subjected to a psychiatric evaluation.
School officials maintain that the incident was an isolated one and that no other security issues exist with either Clifton Elementary or Clifton High School.
Neither the County prosecutor nor the school officials have addressed the claims of the high school student being bullied.
[Photo Courtesy of Aaron P. Bernstein/ Getty Images]