Includes short video from the scene.
Someone made a bomb threat at LaFayette High School Monday afternoon.
The following message regarding the bomb threat is posted on the LaFayette High Web site:
There was a written bomb threat found in a hallway at 1:45. Students were immediately evacuated and 911 was notified as well as the superintendent. The building was declared clear by the LaFayette Chief of Police.
In the event of a future evacuation, car riders will be picked up in the rear of the school at the football stadium ticket booth.
Thanks to the LaFayette Police Department, the LaFayette Fire Department, and Super-intendent Melissa Mathis for their assistance in this matter. Also thanks to our parents and community for their cooperation in removing students from campus.
Last week the Walker County school system ran its first test on an emergency notification system.
The notification system, called SchoolCast, can send a message in a short amount of time to thousands of cell phones, mobile devices, landlines and computers in the event of an emergency.
On Monday messages were sent out to thousands of parents regarding the bomb threat and early dismissals.
The Walker school board decided to purchase SchoolCast after several emergency inci-dents last year.
At Ridgeland High in early March, rumors rapidly spread among students that a violent racial disturbance would occur. In the end, the disturbance didnt happen, but the threat spawned deep concerns among parents, students and staff.
At LaFayette High School in early May, there was a rash of bomb threats. The threats, and the manner in which school officials notified the public, raised concerns.
VIDEO: Bomb threat at LHS
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According to Superintendent of Schools Melissa Mathis, on Monday she arrived at the school within four minutes of being told about the bomb threat, and lightening was begin-ning to become an issue in the south end of the county.
Emergency services were telling us that the students needed to be moved as quickly as possible. Emergency teams were sweeping the building, because the school was no longer in charge. When we called 911, the operations go over to the emergency response and that comes through 911, Mathis said.
They were absolutely outstanding, she said. They were on the scene immediately. They followed all the previously discussed protocols we met this summer to preview .. Both school officials and emergency services were aware of how we would each follow our proto-cols when situations like this came about and it went extraordinarily well on site.
Mathis said that when they began to know that they had to move the children quickly, she contacted Kevin Richardson, who oversees transportation for the school system, and he was on the scene within minutes and he contacted the bus drivers.
The bus route had to be flipped in order to have the high school students picked up first, then the middle school and then the elementary students.
The bomb threat came when the impending weather threat was also there. It was a dou-ble incident, she said.
According to Mathis, all the children had left the school prior to the rain starting.
According to Mathis, the notification system is what helped the school system get through the incident.
The parents and others who are listed on the emergency card are the ones who are called.
I mean these calls went widespread. The system worked, she said.
According to Mathis, the bomb threat call came in at 1:45 p.m., by 1:56 p.m. the notifica-tion system message was released.
Mathis said that it called 4,095 contacts on the first attempt.
What we are prepared to do know is scale back to a first contact number only, then it will become that individuals responsibility to notify others on their call list, she said.
Mathis said that the initial call was followed by other calls to other factions on the list to alert those people on the list of the changing situation.
First thing they knew there was an incident, next they notified of the dismissal and how that would precede, then elementary students were notified that their routes had been re-versed, and finally the fourth call was that all was clear, she said Monday. That will be followed by a message this evening on LaFayette Highs Web site.
Mathis said that the person(s) responsible for the bomb threat would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and other procedural policies will be reviewed and enacted as needed to quickly stymie this situation.
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