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Ridgewood School Property Shutdown Aims To Pre-Empt Big Trouble From Large Gatherings

“We believe these measures will help control the situation,” Ridgewood Schools Supt. Thomas A. Gorman said.
“We believe these measures will help control the situation,” Ridgewood Schools Supt. Thomas A. Gorman said. Photo Credit: BACKGROUND: Boyd A. Loving / INSET: Googlemaps

With COVID restrictions on outdoor gatherings loosened, larger and larger groups of teens have begun hanging out in Ridgewood, say authorities who are taking measures to pre-empt any serious trouble from brewing.

Village Schools Supt. Thomas A. Gorman blamed “teenagers from many surrounding towns” for immense gatherings that have produced "minor confrontations and vandalism."

So, beginning this Friday, all Ridgewood Public School District property will be closed from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. through June 26, Gorman said in a message to the community.

“A security company has also been hired to patrol RPS grounds on Friday and Saturday evenings and will notify the police [if there are] large gatherings of people,” the superintendent added.

Two incidents over the weekend prompted the crackdown.

The first involved a group of well over 100 teens -- and possibly up to 200 -- who gathered Saturday night at the high school.

A fight between two of them broke out and, before the night was through, Bergen County sheriff’s officers and police from neighboring towns had converged to help clear the field and identify those involved, Police Chief Jacqueline Luthcke said.

Then, around 2:45 a.m., patrol officers found port-o-potties overturned and pushed into the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook, as well as some graffiti, the chief said.

Luthcke thanked colleagues from Glen Rock, HoHoKus, Paramus, Midland Park, Wyckoff, Waldwick, Washington Township and Hawthorne who responded along with sheriff’s officers Saturday night and stuck around to help keep the peace.

“At this time, there are no charges being filed,” she said Wednesday.

Gorman, meanwhile, said the crackdown was necessary for “the safety of the community and school property.”

“We believe these measures will help control the situation,” he said in his message to the community. “We will be closely monitoring this issue with the police and will make adjustments to the plan as necessary. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.”

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