Approximately 700 students were evacuated this morning from Wapakoneta Middle School after school officials discovered a bomb threat.
Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner confirmed to the Wapakoneta Daily News that they were tipped off to a bomb threat this morning, but he would not disclose how the threat was made at this time.
“This is one of the few evacuations we have done,” Horner said. “Usually we learn about them prior to the school day.”
He said this threat was discovered at approximately 8:30 a.m., shortly after the fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-graders in the building had begun class.
“Almost immediately we evacuated, based upon the information we have and after conferring with police,” Horner said. “The decision was made quickly.
“We’re being very cautious,” he said.
Wapakoneta police officers and firefighters secured the building and all entrances to the school and both ends of Harrison Street were blocked off by deputies with the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office and troopers with the Wapakoneta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The Allen County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad was called to check the building but had not yet arrived prior to press time.
After a thorough search of the building by the Allen County Bomb Squad, Wapakoneta Middle School was cleared and students returned there at 11:30 a.m.
Horner said the incident remains under investigation with no suspect at this time, although it is believed a student made the threat.
A one-call message went out to parents within an hour of the discovery of the bomb threat to notify them of the situation and to advise them that students were being taken to the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center, adjacent to Wapakoneta High School.
“Parents could pick their children up there if they wished,” Horner said in the message.
He said students who remained there would be fed lunch and returned home the normal way at the end of the day. If the building was cleared prior to the end of the school day, they were to be returned to the middle school and resume class.
Horner planned to update parents as additional information became available.
“The building is secure and in the hands of the police and fire department,” Horner said this morning.