Jr./Sr. high evacuated last Thursday
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff
A bomb threat from a student at the Jenkins Jr./Sr. High School last Thursday caused an evacuation of the building and a thorough search for any bomb materials. The threat made a challenging week even more difficult for school administrators who also had to address a temporary outage of the school’s boiler system that sent students home on Wednesday.
According to Principal Shawn Anderson, the bomb threat was written on a wall in the school on Dec. 15 saying there would be a bomb at the school on Friday, Dec. 16. The school responded by evacuating students and calling local law enforcement regarding the situation. The U.S. Marshalls were called regarding the threat and a bomb sniffing dog helped to ensure the school was free of a bomb or bomb making materials. No materials were found in or around the school, so school officials decided to resume school on Friday although student backpacks were checked before students could enter the building.
Principal Anderson said the school followed a specific set of guidelines in responding to the threat that have been developed by the school’s education service district ESD 101.
“Anytime there is a threat to students, we contact local law enforcement and do whatever we need to to keep kids safe,” said Anderson.
Per the ESD 101 guidelines, the district has a number of plans to address various threats that may impact Chewelah schools including plans for how to address gas leaks, hazardous materials, power outages, a hostage situation or a medical emergency. The plans generally include a list of key persons or agencies to contact, when to evacuate students or when to cancel school.
Similar protocols have been used for threats earlier this year.
In October, Jenkins Jr./Sr. High responded to a “clown threat” from an adult who said he was going to come to the school in order to scare students. The local threat was connected to situations nationwide where people dressed as clowns chased, harassed or threatened people. A student had been texting or messaging with the adult who claimed to be a “clown” and told the student he planned to come to the school. The student alerted school staff and local law enforcement was called to be present at the school during the day the clown was supposed to be present but no “clown threat” materialized.
Principal Anderson said that the recent bomb threat is still under investigation but any immediate danger has been addressed.
“We feel very safe and can continue with school as the threat continues to be investigated,” said Anderson.