3rd bomb threat forces Mars High evacuation
April 22, 2013
ADAMS TWP — Classes resumed Wednesday morning at Mars High School after a third bomb threat in less than three months had police evacuate the building. Township police Chief Bill Westerman said Tuesday afternoon that a note was found in a boys restroom that read: “bomb threat.” Westerman said the note was found about 11 a.m. Officers from Adams, Mars and Middlesex Township evacuated the high school, closed down Route 228, and walked students to the middle school across the road. Westerman said the Allegheny County Bomb Squad arrived with three bomb-sniffing dogs and searched inside the high school, while the district’s security company, Pond Security, brought two dogs to search the school’s parking lots and exterior. District communications director Josh Schwoebel said the high school was swept again at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and nothing was found. Westerman was incredulous that a student would have the nerve to place a bomb threat after the horrific events at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. Three people died and more than 170 were hurt in two bomb blasts at the marathon. “I would have thought the kids would know better if they watched any of that (Boston Marathon) coverage and saw all those people get hurt,” Westerman said. “I just don’t know what’s going on with these kids.” He pointed out that students who make bomb threats are taking a financial risk in addition to the risk of prosecution. He said students found guilty of placing a bomb threat must reimburse the school district, police, bomb squads, school bus companies, and any others who incurred expenses as a result of the threat. He said if the student is younger than 18 years old, his parents must pay the reparations. District Superintendent William Pettigrew said Wednesday that because of the interruption in classes on Tuesday, high school students will make up the school day at the end of the school year. When the building and grounds were cleared on Tuesday, the high school students were bused back across the street and dismissed at the regular time from the high school. Westerman said in this latest threat, police did use some of the new procedures added to the district’s crisis plan. But because of safety reasons, he would not name those procedures. “We’ve also learned a lot over these last three (events),” Westerman said. He said police would review surveillance video to look for a suspect in Tuesday’s threat. This was the third such note found in just more than two months at the school. A note was found in the bathroom in the girls locker room on Feb. 11, and a female student was arrested the next day after turning herself in to Adams police. A second note was found in a girls restroom on March 7. No one has been arrested in connection to the second incident.