WILLIAMSBURG - Reported threats of a bomb Friday in the woods bordering Williamsburg Elementary School led to a districtwide evacuation, with hundreds of students sent home mid-morning.
The bomb threat that sparked the unscheduled early weekend turned out to be baseless, Superintendent Linda Smith said. An elementary-age child had reportedly told a friend of a fabricated threat; word traveled quickly to a parent, then to school administrators, she said.
About 8:50 a.m., elementary students were rounded up and sent to a gymnasium, where Smith calmly explained the situation, she said.
Courtesy photo/Anna Dill
Emergency workers and school employees prepare to dismiss students Friday at Williamsburg Elementary School.
"We went into complete crisis mode," she said Friday afternoon. "They were out of the building in three minutes."
By late morning, the elementary students had been sent home on buses or with parents. A few students and teachers in the nearby high school were still filing casually out of the building, passing firefighters on the way to their cars.
Those at the high school were ordered to wait for hours in their classrooms, junior Austin McMonagle said as he left the district grounds. Teachers there had referenced a "cyber bomb threat," he said - a claim Smith later dismissed.
Few of the older students seemed to be concerned: A handful of boys played basketball near a waiting police cruiser.
Elementary students were sent home around 10 a.m., a district website post stated. High schoolers were released shortly thereafter.
Following standard procedure, bus drivers didn't drop any young children at home if their parents weren't present, Smith said. A district contact system warned adults of the threat.
"The parents have been very cooperative," Smith said. A district press release thanked emergency responders who surrounded district buildings and investigated the threat.
No one will be charged for the threat, said Smith, who described it as a child's imagination run wild rather than a criminal scheme.
She said administrators hope to return to normalcy when the school week begins Tuesday, after the long Memorial Day weekend.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.