Bomb threat on Friday leads to high school evacuation

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Still dealing with the discovery of an explosive device at the home of a high school student on Thursday night, officials of the Switzerland County School Corporation found themselves involved in a second serious matter on Friday morning when some students found a note in one of the boys bathrooms saying that there was a bomb in the building. The letter stated that the bomb was in one of the classrooms.

With a direct threat to student safety, school officials again relied on their Emergency Preparedness Plan, and principal Candis Haskell asked for her teachers to make an accounting of the students in their rooms, and then classrooms were dismissed and students were moved to the gymnasium at Switzerland County Middle School.

Students and staff were taken from the building at approximately 10:25 a.m.; and for the second straight day officers from the Indiana State Police, the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department; and the Vevay Police Department responded to the scene. Also at the scene to offer assistance were officials from the Jefferson Craig Volunteer Fire Department and Switzerland County EMS.

With students safe and out of the building, officers and specialists from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms again began their search of the building. Dogs were used that are trained in the detection of explosive materials. The entrances to the school property were secured by law enforcement officials; and the student parking lot gate was locked until investigators had the opportunity to clear that area of any suspicious materials.

Back at the middle school, parents were allowed to come to the school and sign out their student. School officials kept detailed records of each dismissal, so that after the matter was concluded, they could account for all of the students who had left the building as part of the evacuation. By the time the building was deemed safe just after 2 p.m., there was only a handful of high students left in the middle school gym.

Worried parents also signed out their children from all three of the other county schools during the day.

After the sweep, investigators found nothing in the building that would substantiate what the letter said; and staff and students were allowed to go back to the high school. Student vehicles were released by the end of the school day, and the buses ran on a normal schedule.

Continuing the investigation, officers from the Vevay Police Department continued to interview students concerning the note. One of the officers received an admission from a 17-year old high school student that he had indeed written the note; and that there never was a bomb and he had written the note as a hoax.

That juvenile was taken into custody and taken to the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Facility. The juvenile was scheduled to appear in juvenile court early this week. Those proceedings are closed to the public.