Bomb threat delays start of school day
Published: January 15, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Classes at John Woodson Junior High School got off to a late start Monday morning because of a false bomb threat called in to the school.
According to the police blotter, a listing of calls made to emergency dispatchers, a call came in at 6:49 Monday reporting a bomb at the school. The incident initially was listed as a "bomb found" in Estate Slob, but the final disposition of the call was listed as a police assistance.
School Principal Vaughn Hewitt said a call came in to dispatchers and a subsequent threat was made to the school.
The bomb threat disrupted the normal traffic flow in the area between Midland Road and Gen. Jean Romney Road from just after 7 a.m. until just after 9 a.m. when the all clear signal was given.
Traffic slowed to a crawl, as students and staff already at the school were ushered off the campus to a location about an eighth of a mile away, adjacent to the Mon Bijou dump site.
"Those who were on campus knew the evacuation process, and they all worked together to evacuate," Hewitt said.
Hewitt and other staff directed parents dropping off students to do so away from the school for at least 40 minutes, until access to the road was cut off, with police manning both intersections.
As news of the bomb threat spread, parents began showing up on either side of the road block wanting to pick up their children. Motor vehicle access was denied but pedestrian traffic was allowed.
Following the arrival of the special bomb response officers and a K-9 officer, a full sweep of the school was conducted, and the school was determined safe by 8:50 a.m.
Hewitt said students were given breakfast once they were inside, then they reported to their classes.
"I would definitely like to commend both the staff and the students who were here at the time for knowing what they need to do, and working efficiently and calmly to handle the situation," Hewitt said. "However, we basically wasted half the day dealing with this threat, and it is important that we come down heavily on those individuals that are responsible - those individuals who, this morning, interrupted our students' learning and put their safety at risk."
School officials said they are calling on the community to provide any information they might have about the incident.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.