East Hall High School was evacuated Monday morning after a bomb threat was discovered written on a wall.
Hall County Sheriff’s officers are looking for who wrote the note, but after combing through the school with bomb-sniffing dogs, no devices were found.
“We will monitor the school closely during the next few days,” Col. Jeff Strickland said. “An investigator has also been assigned to the case.”
The evacuation meant that most of the day’s instructional time was lost. Hall County Schools will not add a day to the school calendar, so teachers will have to fit that instructional time into their schedule, said Gordon Higgins, the schools’ public information officer.
“They’ll have ample opportunities to be creative with their curriculum,” he said.
The school system is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of anyone associated with writing the threat.
Higgins said the individual who wrote the message made terroristic threats and could face felony charges or expulsion from school.
“We will cooperate with the sheriff’s department if they have leads and give them any information that they need from us,” Higgins said.
Higgins said the note was found scrawled in the girls’ bathroom at 10:30 a.m.
The message stated that “between 10:30 and noon a bomb would go off,” Higgins said. A female student reported to her teacher after seeing the message.
Buses transported everyone in the building to East Hall Community Center, located about a mile away.
Higgins said the evacuation was “very orderly.” They remained at the community center while the dogs searched the campus.
By about 1:30 p.m. deputies cleared the main gym, all the parking lots and the administration building at the school. The sweep of the entire campus was finished at 2:15 p.m. and no devices were found, Higgins said.
“We have to err on the side of caution in matters like this,” Higgins said.
Students who were not picked up early by parents were shuttled back to East Hall to return to their classrooms.
Principal Jeff Cooper said all students had been accounted for before parents began picking them up. Teachers did a head count of their students before they were put on buses headed for the community center.
Normal protocol in a bomb threat is for students to be evacuated to the track behind the school. But because it was raining officials decided to use the community center.
Higgins said minimal costs were associated with the incident, which includes cleaning the note from the bathroom and paying for the extra bus shuttle during the day.
“Sometimes these are written as a prank or because they’re angry about something and they try to cause a disruption,” Higgins said. “They basically caused the entire school to be evacuated and 900 people to be displaced for the day.”
Staff writer Carolyn Crist contributed to this report.