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Multiple Bomb Threats Affect Learning at KIPP NJ Newark Collegiate Academy Charter School


KIPP NCA: “During a shelter in place, all movement is restricted inside and out of the building for all staff and students. Please do not come to the building during this time, as we cannot release students until the shelter in place is lifted. We will update you as soon as the shelter in place is over.”

Parents told RLS Media that the message sent out by administrators at KIPP NJ Newark Collegiate Academy Charter School has become as routine as having toast and coffee for breakfast in the morning.

A threat to the school had the Newark West Ward charter school spending -yet- another day with disruptions in their learning process while police and school administrators placed the entire building in a "shelter in place" status Monday.

“KIPP NCA: We are experiencing currently under a shelter-in-place. We've called NPD & are following safety protocols. Please help keep students safe by awaiting an update from your school.”

It happened just before 11:35 a.m. at the KIPP's Littleton Avenue school building which was once the site of the historic West Ward boys and girl's club. 

Police arrived at the school with search dogs and checked for possible explosives and suspicious items after the facility received a threat. While authorities confirmed at least one other incident this month, parents said the incidents had occurred at least once a week since school started. 

The building was cleared by Newark Police in under an hour, but no matter the circumstances, parents who received the nerve-racking text messages said thanks to stress devices, nail-biting, and prayer, they are not sure what eases them. 

"We can never get used to this when we receive these alerts with our babies inside the school and there is no trust behind these texts because KIPP NJ NCA has not proved that they can be trusted," a parent told RLS Media on Monday morning. "This is way too much for parents and our kids to deal with." 

Teacher and staff workshops that usually assist with lesson planning, curriculum upgrades, and classroom management techniques have also seen teachers learning how to deal with social and emotional problems due to multiple incidents at Newark Collegiate Academy. 

Teachers have been trained in social-emotional skills such as non-judgmental listening and conflict de-escalation.

Officials said an external group would present virtual workshops on healthy relationships and safe social media use. A partner agency offers therapy to families on Medicaid KIPP NJ, confirmed with Chalkbeat online journal. 

"All KIPP high school students can sign up for counseling with a school social worker," a spokesperson told the journal. 

On October 1,  Newark Police officials said that at approximately 9:30 a.m., officers responded to KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy Charter School, located at 129 Littleton Avenue, on a call of a student with a gun.

Upon arrival, police said security and administrators had a 9th-grade student detained in the main office with a loaded gun. The boy was placed under arrest and authorities later learned that the boy alleged that he was the victim of bullying and a recent physical assault by males after school a week prior. 

The school building did not have metal detectors to start the school year but did obtain the devices after the boy brought the gun to school. 

Parents and community activists said the boy entered Newark Collegiate Academy 'unchecked'. "He sat with the loaded gun in the principal's office." 

"I'm so nervous sending my child to this school every day," the parent told RLS Media. 

After clearing Monday's incident, KIPP NJ Newark Collegiate Academy assured parents that all was safe by sending their final message: 

“KIPP NCA: Good Afternoon Families, NPD has deemed the building safe. Students have returned to class and we will continue our normal school day. Students will be dismissed at 2:50 pm.”

"They never really say what is going on during these incidents, so you have to get your calm by reading through these text messages. I'm on my way to get my son", the parent concluded. 

The other KIPP NJ high school, Newark Lab, has also experienced disruptions due to threats. 

Newark Police have not announced an arrest for any of the city-wide school bomb threats.