By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
2nd bomb threat this week interrupts Hall school
Nothing suspicious was found; officials suspect copycat
Placeholder Image

Nothing suspicious was found after a second bomb threat in three days in the Hall County school district, this time at Johnson High School.

On Wednesday, a note threatening a bomb attack was found sprayed in the bathroom of the school's Performing Arts Center. Two days before, officials evacuated East Hall High School after a similar threat was made.

Hall County Schools spokesman Gordon Higgins said deputies suspect the note was a copycat.

"But the sheriff's department, like the school system, takes all threats seriously," he said.

About 2 p.m. at Johnson, a student reported a message on a mirror in the girls' bathroom. It had been spelled out in hair spray that the school would be blown up, Higgins said.

Students in Performing Arts Center classes were immediately evacuated to the main building and the campus went into lockdown.

Higgins said officials chose not to evacuate the entire school, like in the case at East Hall, because the center is a standalone building. On Monday, East Hall students were bused to the East Hall Community Center, about one mile away.

Higgins said buses were unavailable Wednesday because the incident occurred during elementary school dismissal time. Severe weather was another factor.

"We were under a tornado watch and thunderstorms were imminent in the area, so our safety evacuation to the stadium was not an option," he said.

The school's Performing Arts Center was deemed safe at 3:15 p.m. after Capt. Donnie Jarrard dispatched bomb sniffing dogs to sweep the area.

At that point, school administrators decided to continue with regular dismissal. The campus was empty by 4 p.m. and the bomb dogs remained on campus to search the main building, which also was cleared.

The school system has had to contend with a number of security issues over the week, including a lockdown at Johnson High School Tuesday after an inmate at a nearby work release facility escaped from custody.

Higgins said the safety protocols are working well, but there is no guarantee the bomb threats will end.

"You really can't reassure people that it won't happen again. The one thing we must do is ensure citizens they have a right to privacy and each of these messages was left in the restroom," Higgins said. "We're at the mercy of the behavior of these students in one respect."

Deputies will continue to follow up with leads on the threats. In the case at Johnson, they will begin with the can of hair spray they discovered, Higgins said.

The bomb threats carry weighty penalties, including felony charges.

"The consequences for a student could go way beyond what they consider a harmless prank," Higgins said.

As with the threat at East Hall, the Hall County School System is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of anyone associated with writing the latest threat.

 

Regional events