Bomb threat forces evacuation, possible absences

Martha Schick, Multimedia Chief

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“To be perfectly honest with you, yes, there was a threat made to [JC] in terms of there being a bomb here tomorrow,” Principal Madelyn Ball said in an announcement to students and teachers on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

A 30-minute bomb evacuation drill will take place Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 10:15 to 10:45.  This drill is a result of the bomb threat found at C. Milton Wright High School, after it was evacuated Oct. 18 due to its own bomb threat.

“No bomb was found and when [the police] went through the building [at C. Milton Wright] looking for things… they found, written on the back of a bathroom door, that four schools would be blown up at 10:30 on Oct. 24 and [JC was] the fourth school listed,” Ball said.

Ball sent an email informing parents of the threat at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23.  In the letter, she said, “It is highly unlikely that this is a credible threat, but we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our students.”  She went on to say that JC has received no “threatening phone calls” or “similar messages on our bathroom walls.”

“[The police] did not even recommend us telling parents or students, but we thought we would tell the parents and the students anyhow just simply because this is a private school and we will allow students to make the decision to whether or not they’re going to come tomorrow,” Ball said.

Parents were also told that Oct. 24 will be an excused absence if they don’t feel comfortable sending their children to school.  However, students who come in after 11 a.m. will not be able to participate in or attend the Powder Puff game, according to the student handbook.  The handbook states that “students must be present during the major part of the school day in order to participate in extracurricular activities.”  Ball has defined the majority of the day as coming in at 11 a.m. or before.

“I would say that Powder Puff trumps any kind of safety concerns completely,” Ball said in response to the “number one email” she received from parents.

According to Ball, the school will be evacuated in a bomb drill, which will have some minor differences from other emergency drills.

“Tomorrow’s [drill] will be a little bit different for some people because when you evacuate for a bomb threat, you have to get below the level of the school… so we’ll  be practicing that tomorrow and we’ll be out of the school for at least a half an hour.  You have to go out 15 minutes before and come back 15 minutes after any kind of threat like this,” Ball said.

The students and teachers evacuating to the football and field hockey fields will continue to do so, but those who go out though to the faculty parking lot will be moved to the student lot, farther away from the school. Police will also be present.

Martha Schick is the Multimedia Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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