Eastern York Middle School students evacuated for 3rd bomb threat in 7 days

WRIGHTSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM)- Eastern York Middle School announced Friday that students were being evacuated from the school building this afternoon when a note claiming a bomb was in the building was found on the wall in the boy’s bathroom.

All middle school students were escorted to the Eastern York High School Campus around 12 p.m.

The school announced on their Facebook page around 2 p.m.:

Local law enforcement has determined that the middle school is safe for students to return. Students who were not picked up earlier by their parents will be dismissed at normal dismissal time from the middle school.

The school also released the following information at 1:15 p.m.:

All students are safe while they remain in our care at the high school location and it is not necessary for parents/guardians to pick up their middle school child.

However, an extensive law enforcement investigation is underway and it may be unlikely police will permit students back into the middle school building prior to normal dismissal time. Therefore, a system has been set up so that students may be released to parents – or an individual designated on the student’s Emergency Information Card – if the parent wishes to do so.

Middle school students may be picked up prior to normal dismissal time at Door 24 of the high school performing arts center at the entrance off of Cool Creek Road. Parents – or other emergency contacts – will be required to present valid identification. This step is needed to protect your child from any unauthorized individuals attempting to pick up your child.

Finally, we want you to know that your cooperation in helping us to ensure all students’ safety is greatly appreciated. As always, should you have questions or concerns regarding anything stated in this letter, please feel free to contact Dr. Keith Shoemaker, EYMS Principal, during regular work hours.

Thank you for your assistance on this matter.

This is the third time since last Friday that Eastern York has had to evacuate students because of a bomb threat.

Superintendent Dr. Darla Pianowski also issued the following statement to parents and guardians on Friday afternoon:

Recognizing the need for accurate information about student safety, I am sharing with you details about three separate false bomb threats that were written on the boys’ bathroom wall at Eastern York Middle School over the last two weeks. None of the written false bomb threats appeared to be credible to the administration and police. However, with threats and violence occurring across our nation, the administration and police have treated each one as a credible threat and will continue to act accordingly to protect our students and staff. Unfortunately, each of the incidents at the middle school caused a major disruption to the education for the students.

The police have identified the participant(s) in today’s incident and will continue in their investigation in regards to further prosecution. The student that wrote the threat indicated that an electronic device would be involved. Therefore, students were directed to leave all belongings, including cell phones and chromebooks, in their locked classrooms so that a trained K9 unit could conduct a thorough search. At no time were students’ cell phones searched by police. After police determined it was safe for students to return to the building, students were permitted to pick up their personal belongings and they were dismissed on time.

The administration and police continue investigating two unresolved false bomb threats (9/15 and 9/18) and feel confident the student(s) will be identified and held accountable in the near future. There are severe penalties imposed by the school district for issuing false bomb threats. When students are accused of violating a policy and/or committing a crime, school district administrators conduct a thorough investigation and cooperate fully with the local police. They also make sure students are held responsible and accountable while following district policies and several state and federal laws involving disciplining students.

It is the district’s goal to provide timely information to parents during any emergency incident that occurs. We provide voice messaging through Skylert, post information to our district website, and update the information as frequently as possible to keep parents informed. While we are making sure that students are safely moved to a different location, we are simultaneously working to ensure medication is provided to students who take it, providing meals to students, generating and providing accurate and updated information to parents/students (with translations) and media, as well as creating a process for parent/child reunification, if needed. Depending upon the timing of the incident, the district may need to make last minute decisions concerning transportation and dismissal. Parents can help us by following the instructions provided by the district so we can ensure we have the appropriate personnel in place in order to provide an efficient and orderly process for students to be safely released to parents.

We know that parents, students, and staff will work together to help maintain a focus on teaching and learning in our schools as we address the recent incidents and move forward with educating our students. If you have a concern that has not been addressed, please contact me. Thank you in advance for your cooperation as we work together to ensure the safest environment for our students, staff and community.

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