An arrest has been made in connection with a bomb threat that forced officials to evacuate both Washington High and Junior High Schools on Monday afternoon.
Officials with the Washington Police Department say an unidentified juvenile was taken into custody Monday evening following investigation into the threat.
The juvenile was a student in the Washington school district.
1,100 students were evacuated from Washington High and Junior High Schools on Monday afternoon at about 1:40 pm after a note was found which stated that there was a bomb in the building and that it was going to explode. Police swept through the high school with the aid of bomb sniffing dogs and found nothing. The case was turned over to detectives at about 4 pm on Monday afternoon. At about 8:30 pm Monday evening, detectives had come up with enough evidence to make the arrest.
Washington police chief Mike Healy praised the detectives for their work on this case. He said checking through the school and talking with staff at the school helped lead them to the juvenile.
Though the threat had ended prior to students’ return to school yesterday morning, Healy says there was still an increased police presence around the buildings and an officer was posted in the high school building throughout the day.
Washington school superintendent Dr. Dan Roach says he is very impressed with the work that the police department was able to get done in this case so far. He says everything was business as usual yesterday and those in both school buildings are already moving forward from the incident.
In spite of that, school administrators and police are examining how the evacuation and emergency plans worked. Healy said the school, teachers, and students handled the situation well and Roach added that things went fairly well given the circumstances. Administrators are meeting with several school staff members and will discuss some observations with police.
One of the key items up for review is that students left the building empty-handed and had to return later in order to retrieve keys and other such items left in their lockers. Roach says the school corporation plans to seek advice on handling those situations in the future.
Healy says given what has taken place in schools across the country recently, something such as a bomb threat thatmay have been considered as a prank 20 years ago is no longer funny. He says the main concern moving forward will be the safety of children in schools.
Detectives are currently working with the prosecutor’s office on formal charges for the juvenile and the case is still pending.