Bomb threats disrupt Richmond middle schools

Posted at 8:56 AM, Apr 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-29 17:40:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Students were allowed back into Boushall and Thompson Middle Schools Tuesday morning after the Richmond bomb squad investigated two separate bomb threats.

Boushall Middle students were evacuated from the Hopkins Rd. school as a precaution shortly after the threat was made about 8:25 a.m.

A second bomb threat, called in at 8:32 a.m. was investigated at Thompson Middle Schools on Forest Hill Ave. in South Richmond. Thompson students were evacuated to Huguenot High School as a precaution.

The situations were deemed cleared, according to Richmond Public Schools spokeswoman Cletisha Lovelace.

Students were sent home with letters alerting parents about the situation.  But one parent expressed some concerns.

"I would've been a little bit more comfortable if they would have sent them home for the day. And just did a little bit more thorough and clean sweep of the building," said Jamie McElrath.

CBS 6 spoke with two students who we are keeping anonymous because they are minors.

"We haven't actually went over the situation process of what to do in the case of a bomb threat. So, we were kind of overwhelmed when they asked us to evacuate," said the unidentified student.

The students tell CBS 6 they felt the response at Thompson Middle was chaotic and confusing.

"They just told us, there was a bomb threat. And there was no need to call your parents and get them all worried and everything," said another unidentified student.

The students' concerns prompted us to start asking questions.

We wanted to know what is the evacuation plan during a bomb threat.

Richmond school officials tell CBS 6 that as soon as they received the call police officers and school security officers are dispatched to those locations.

"And K-9 responded pretty quickly. I mean in less than an hour, they were back in the building," said Timothy Mallory, RPS Safety & Security Chief.

RPS Safety and Security Chief Timothy Mallory tells CBS 6 they assess every bomb threat before taking action.

"We wouldn't have told them that it was a bomb threat. So, no they wouldn't have known. They just had to follow procedures about we need to evacuate and follow those procedures," said Mallory.

Mallory says they don't want to cause further panic. That's why students were told not to call their parents in this situation.

"If we're going to communicate with the parents, we want them to get accurate information," said Mallory.

The bomb threats happened weeks before final exams.  An investigation into the threats is on-going.  No word yet on a possible suspect.

According to Virginia code, whoever did it could be facing prison time if they're caught. An adult making a bomb threat is a class five felony with each threat punishable by up to 10 years in prison.