Originally Published: September 7, 2003 10:30 a.m.
"We went ahead and just evacuated (the school)," he said. "We checked the football field to make sure it was OK first. Then we sent the students out there. We had checked each classroom. Officers were here and teachers, one at a time, checked their space. Everybody said that everything was normal so we got the kids back in the classrooms."
Prescott Valley Police Department Lt. P.J. Janik said when his officers arrived, the school chose to evacuate the premises. He said it was a good idea because it is one of the first fire alarm exercises of this school year.
"This was a good opportunity to do that process," he said. "We assisted them with that and we assisted them with the search. Our officers concluded that there was no suspicious objects and the school went back into session about an hour later."
Wells said the bomb threat procedure that the school initiates in this type of situation mainly depends on what type of information it receives from the informant.
"If we get specific information, then obviously we can adjust what we do, based on that information, with the rest of the campus," he said. "Since we just had a general and quick piece of information, we naturally wanted to clear the buildings and move students away from the buildings."
Whether a bomb threat is real or not, the school approaches it as if it is a real alert, he said.
"I'm not going to make assumptions that someone is playing a game," he said. "How reliable it may be, we do not know, but we'd rather head in direction of being safe."
Wells said that, in the four years he has been the principal of BMHS, the school hadn't previously had any bomb threat incidents.
A group of sophomores hiding in the shade of a small tree from the intense September sun said that when the fire alarm went off, they thought it was just another drill, like the one they had on Thursday.
"Then we found out that it was a bomb threat," Jennifer Baumgartner said. "We thought that it was just a drill."
Katie Grieme said that they were not scared once they learned about it.
"I've been really enthusiastic about it because it got us out of the class," she said. "We were learning about geometry, which is really boring."
Another student complained about being hungry because the bomb threat delayed lunch for about an hour.
She said students do not take the bomb threats very seriously because "you see it on TV but you don't think it will ever happen to you."
Amber Swale said school officials do not check backpacks for weapons in the morning before sudents enter the campus.
"They might do it after this," she said.
Wells said that they would proceed with the search of students and their belongings only if the school suspects something out of the ordinary.
Janik said if they ever catch the caller, he could face a number of felony charges related to disruption of an educational institution and false reporting.
Possessing a weapon on school grounds is a Class 1 misdemeanor, he said.
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