Ninja scare results in school lockdowns

Barnegat, NJ schools were put into "lockdown" because someone saw a "ninja" (turned out to be a camp counselor in a karate uniform going to a costume party). Lesson learned by students: security alerts are bogus, grownups are idiots.
Public schools in Barnegat were locked down briefly after someone reported seeing a ninja running through the woods behind an elementary school.

Turns out the ninja was actually a camp counselor dressed in black karate garb and carrying a plastic sword.

Link (via Schneier)


  1. The Elementary School I went to now practices Columbine drills on a regular basis.

    Apparently you cannot even get into the school during regular hours.

  2. Improv Everywhere could really have some fun playing with this kind of ludicrously paranoid mentality.

    News Anchor: In other news, a local elementary school was locked down for several hours today after a sighting of both a Viking raiding party and a horde of Mongolian horse archers. The barbarians in question turned out to be an Internet-based improvisational comedy group.

  3. This was just silly. Everybody knows that if it was a real ninja, he would not have been seen. He would have vanished into thin air, like my car stereo when I parked it overnight in DC.

  4. It wasn’t so much the ninja that scared them, it was the screaming, sword-brandishing pirates chasing the ninja.

  5. Lol.

    #2: I just finished reading Battle Royale, and somehow this makes me think of that.

    I wonder how many steps away drilling kids for a gun battle with crazies is from throwing them into a crazy gun battle?

  6. A false fire alarm does not mean fire alarms are useless. It means the trigger is too sensitive. Same here – reacting to a threat is not useless, just mis-triggered.

    I agree with #4 – Real ninjas cannot be seen, until it is too late.

  7. What nonsense. If you see a ninja, he’s obviously too incompetent to remain unseen and isn’t a threat to anyone.

    What the teachers at the school should be worried about is the the really dangerous ninjas – the ones they CAN’T see. They should put the school in lockdown every time someone DOESN’T see a ninja.

  8. This country is going to hell in a handbasket. A handbasket that has been thoroughly searched and, ultimately, detained by airport security.

  9. #11

    A false fire alarm does not mean fire alarms are useless. It means the trigger is too sensitive. Same here – reacting to a threat is not useless, just mis-triggered.

    Reacting to the threat of … ninjas?

    If your fire alarm responds to smoking cookery, that’s a valid hair trigger – but when it responds to a man in 17th century chef’s hat walking by? That’s when you know your alarm is so sensitive that it becomes useless.

    There’s a story called “The boy who cried ‘wolf'”,
    and its modern counterpart “The state which cried ‘threat'”

  10. Wow… at least it wasn`t a Zombie threat.
    Or a Pirate Alert.
    Or even worse! A Pirate Ninja Zombie Red Alert Threat!

  11. The thing about ninja is that they are supposed to be invisible. So they dress like bank tellers and bus drivers. They carry weapons like nail files and very sharp pencils. Someone draped in black with face covered wouldn’t be a ninja so much as an onstage scenery mover from the Kabuki, which is the origin of the modern movie ninja costume.

  12. Yes, and if the school did nothing and the guy dressed up like a ninja had a bunch of guns and shot a bunch of kids, how quickly do you think the district would have been sued?

    I agree that the schools can overreact to “threats”. The school I work at has been locked down because a woman escaped from a hospital four miles away; another time, our entire school was evacuated and the bomb squad called in because one of the plant operators (who is old and from Eastern Europe) had left a garbage bag full of some old stuff outside one of the classrooms so he could remember to take it with him before he left. Schools are caught in a double bind: do something and get called out for over-reacting, do nothing (or “not enough”) and get sued when something does happen. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying that’s how it is.

  13. You know the kids at that school must completely love this whole episode. “Guess what Mom? School got closed today BECAUSE OF A NINJA!” There must be a lot of kids doing “ninja moves” in the hallways now along with ninja jokes. They’ll be talking about it for years. “Remember when school got closed BECAUSE OF A NINJA!?!??”

  14. My little brother was once taken into custody by an FBI agent because he walked into the grocery store dressed as a Ninja. They had their guns drawn on him and everything.

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