Monday, January 20, 2020
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Bomb threats cause disruptions in IL, Md.

Several bomb threats, raining like cats and dogs on schools in Illinois and Maryland, have caused brief disruptions in school operations this week.

In Illinois, officials at Kaneland Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove, in Kaneland School District 302, put the school on lockdown on Thursday morning, January 14, after they said they discovered threats against the school on social media, the Aurora Beacon News reports.

The lockdown was canceled following determination through a brief investigation by Sugar Grove police that the threat was not credible. “The student that made the threat has been identified and is no longer a threat,” district officials were quoted as saying.

The Chicago Sun-Times also reports that officials at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago’s center-north area received a bomb threat on January 14. The school was immediately evacuated, according to a statement from Chicago Public Schools. CPS said at 10 PM that officials conducted a sweep of the building and ‚Äúdetermined it is safe to occupy.”

Students were also evacuated at Mattoon High School on Wednesday, January 13, after a bomb threat was discovered on toilet paper in a school bathroom. Mattoon Police cleared the school and said the note was “not a credible claim,” according to a report on Fox 55/27 in Springfield.

In Frederick, Maryland, a bomb threat on January 11 at Orchard Grove Elementary School prompted an evacuation of students and staff for more than an hour. Someone phoned in a bomb threat, the Frederick News-Post reports.

Near Bel Air, in Harford County, the Baltimore Sun reports, students at Southampton Middle School were evacuated to a nearby church on January 11 while law enforcement investigated a bomb threat that came into the school by phone.

On the Delmarva Peninsula, schools in both Delaware and Maryland were disrupted for up to a few hours as officials investigated robotic phone calls that announced a bomb threat on January 11 at several schools, the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

Delaware schools include Indian River High School, Seaford Middle School, HB DuPont Middle School in Hockessin, Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, as well as schools in Dover, Smyrna and Milford.

Maryland schools include some in Queen Anne’s, St Mary’s and Wicomico counties, including Parkside High School in Salisbury. After bomb units searched the high school, the threat was determined to be not credible, and school continued. “The Wicomico County Board of Education and Wicomico County Public Schools place the highest priority on providing a safe learning environment and appreciate the support of the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office in this effort,” part of a Wicomico County Public Schools statement read.

Ocean City Elementary School in Worcester County was closed briefly following a bomb threat that prompted an evacuation Tuesday morning, Maryland Coast Dispatch reports.

A student at Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin, Maryland, was also charged in connection with a bomb threat that came into the school on January 13, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation said. The student was charged as a juvenile and faces charges of arson/threat and disturbing school activities or personnel.

For this one, a live call, not a robotic call, was received, and it began what was the third day of bomb threats against schools across the region, WBOC-16 reports.

Worcester County Public Schools took about two hours to clear the threat and return school operations to normal, but some testing may have been affected, since Decatur is on a semesterized block schedule and the testing window is currently open for PARCC tests in algebra and English and for the High School Assessment in government and biology.

The High School Assessments in biology and government are part of the requirements in Maryland for students to receive a high school diploma.

Threats continue

On their social media at about 12:30 PM today, Worcester County Public Schools, which includes Stephen Decatur High School, posted: “We have been made aware of a bomb threat that affects all @WorcesterSystem schools. All schools and offices are currently being evacuated.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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