Part 2 in a series about emergency preparedness in our schools
Around 11:35 a.m. on Tuesday, Camdenton Police department received a call that prompted a serious investigation. According to police, the caller indicated there was a bomb at Camdenton High school that was supposed to go off at noon. When officials were unable to confirm the credibility of the call, officers spoke with school administration and made the decision to evacuate the building "as a precautionary measure placing the safety of students and staff first" according to Camdenton Police.
As the investigation went on, officials learned that the phone number given with the initial call was not a valid number. After checking school records, the name of the parent given was not in system and the student was not enrolled.
Students were evacuated to other schools in the district while police swept the school only to find nothing suspicious. Even though the threat turned out to be a false alarm, the Camdenton Police Department takes this situation extremely seriously."This is a very serious incident; the safety of every student and school employee at this building were put at risk. Thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm, however, false or not, the person responsible would still face criminal charges, including making a false bomb threat and making a terroristic threat," Police Cheif Laura Wright said.
Wright stresses that calls of this nature should not be seen as a joke or a laughing matter.
"Sometimes after one call is received, other calls come in from students thinking it was funny and hope to get out of class again. We need for them to understand it is not a joke or prank. It is a very serious act that could result in criminal charges and jail time," Wright said.
Chief Wright sees situations like Tuesday's threat as a way to evaluate the current plans in place and see how they can be improved upon. "As a whole, I believe it went really well," she said.
"We always take each situation as a learning experience, acknowledging what went well but also identifying ways we can improve our response," Wright added.
Members of the Camdenton Police Department attended Wednesday's School Safety Committee meeting in Camdenton where members evaluated Tuesday's incident. A member of the Lake Sun news team attempted to attend the meeting but was told that it was closed to the media.
Other bomb threats took place across the nation on Tuesday. Wright acknowledged the other threats but was careful to not make assumptions or draw conclusions."The fact is other threats happened on the same day," she said. It is unknown if those threats are related to the one at Camdenton High School at this time.
The investigation is currently ongoing. The Lake Sun will release more information as it is released.