Students evacuated after bomb threat
While officials are taking the investigation into a "prank bomb threat" at Northview High School Monday morning very serious, school administrators, staff members and students are dealing with the frustration of trying to get back to normal after having another school day disrupted.
"They're all safe," Principal Tim Rayle said about the precautionary safety measure of evacuating the more than 1,200 students and staff members to North Clay Middle School. "Everyone did an excellent job during the evacuation. Our primary concern was the safety of the students. We got everyone out and called in the experts."
This is the third bomb threat Northview has received in the past year-and-a-half, which has officials agreeing that it is very disturbing how frequently these types of incidents are occurring.
"We have to treat every threat, even the prank ones, as if they are real," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said about the bomb threat that came into the school switchboard at the school shortly after 11 a.m. "This isn't a joke. We have subpoenaed the phone records for the school."
Building and Grounds Director Tom Reberger confirmed that the internal phone system was also being checked.
A person commits a class D felony in violation of Indiana Code: 35-44-2-2 when they make a false report that someone has or intends to place an explosive, destructive device or other destructive substance in a building or transportation facility. ?If convicted, a person faces a potential fine of $10,000 and real-time imprisonment of up to 3 years.
Superintendent Dan Schroeder told The Brazil Times that the unidentified caller apparently said, "There's a bomb in the school" and quickly hung up.
"Without much details and the way the caller said it, we believe it was a prank right away, but we had to take the threat seriously," Schroeder said at the scene while six Clay County Sheriff's Deputies were searching the building for any suspicious items. "We had an emergency plan in place and the administrators and staff carried it out perfectly."
Around 12:30 p.m. the students were allowed to walk back to the high school and return to their third period class, but returning to normal could be difficult.
"This is a very selfish act and whoever did this has a blatant disregard for our students safety or their emotional well-being," Rayle said about how students and staff members at the school are still recovering from the loss of two classmates killed in traffic accidents on Nov. 16-17. "This person has no regard for the grief this school is suffering and what these kids are going through."
Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kim Jackson were on the scene and praised the efforts of school officials during the evacuation.
"We really appreciate the fact that the school corporation is taking every threat seriously," Reberger said. "This investigation is ongoing and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any individual involved in this type of incident."
Officials are urging the public to report any information about this case, or any other incident, to the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 446-2535.