UPDATE: No bomb found in Battle Ground High School

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

Updated: February 28, 2013, 7:40 PM

 
photoAssistant principal Sue Fine searches the school with others after the bomb threat that morning.

The discovery of a bomb threat written on a bathroom wall led to the evacuation of Battle Ground High School on Thursday morning. No bomb was found.

The message was scrawled inside a stall in a boy’s bathroom. The note said a bomb was going to go off in the early afternoon and mentioned a specific school administrator.

Principal Tim Lexow called the district’s security staff and Battle Ground police to evaluate the threat.

“They looked at the note, decided it was serious enough, and threatening enough, that they decided to close the school for the day,” said Gregg Herrington, district spokesman.

The Portland Bomb Squad was alerted and put on standby.

At 9 a.m., Lexow made an automated phone call to families of the school’s 2,050 students to inform them of the threat and evacuation. More than 30 school buses, summoned from around the 271-square-mile-district, began arriving.

At 9:15 a.m., students were dismissed for the day, followed shortly thereafter by teachers and most other staffers.

At 9:45 a.m., two Battle Ground police officers and eight school district security personnel began searching the campus, including portables and other out buildings.

At 10:30 a.m. the search was concluded. Nothing was found.

Special temporary accommodations were made for students who were off campus for classes at the Clark County Skills Center or the district’s CASEE site in Brush Prairie. A few special education students were taken to nearby Chief Umtuch Middle School to wait for their parents.

Afternoon and evening events at the school, including spring sports practice, a concert and Battle Ground Community Education classes, were canceled.

“This is very disruptive to families and the school,” Herrington said.

Students or parents with information about the identity of the person who wrote the threat are asked to notify either the school or the Battle Ground Police Department, which is handling the investigation.

Lexow said, “I heard from some parents and staff who said they appreciated that we took safety of the students and employees as being of paramount importance.”

Classes will resume Friday.