Bomb Threat Brings More Cops To Schools

SEC­OND IN­CI­DENT AT MID­DLE SCHOOL

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

FARM­ING­TON — For the sec­ond time in a month, Farm­ing­ton Po­lice is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a bomb threat at Lynch Mid­dle School.

Mon­day morn­ing, stu­dents com­ing to school at Lynch were di­rected to the gym where back­packs were placed against the wall. Two po­lice dogs from Univer­sity of Arkansas Po­lice De­part­ment walked along the bags sniff­ing for any bomb re­lated ma­te­ri­als.

Ear­lier in the morn­ing, the dogs con­ducted a thor­ough search of the school and did not find any­thing, other than two items placed by po­lice.

Nine law en­force­ment of­fi­cers stood in the Lynch gym, rep­re­sent­ing Farm­ing­ton, UA, Wash­ing­ton County and the FBI of­fice in Fayet­teville.

Prairie Grove High School also was deal­ing with a bomb threat that was writ­ten in a “dis­creet place” at the high school last week, ac­cord­ing to Capt. Jeff O’Brien with Prairie Grove Po­lice De­part­ment.

O’Brien said the threat at Prairie Grove High in­di­cated a bomb would go off on Fri­day, March 9.

“There’s noth­ing show­ing this is a cred­i­ble, di­rected threat,” O’Brien said Thurs­day.

Of­fi­cials be­lieve a stu­dent wrote the threat to copy what is all over

the news these days.

“It hap­pened in Farm­ing­ton. Some kid thinks it will be fun to do it here,” O’Brien said.

How­ever, he noted, po­lice and school of­fi­cials are tak­ing all pre­cau­tions to make sure stu­dents are safe. A full search of the school was made and an in­creased po­lice pres­ence was at the cam­pus Fri­day.

Thurs­day, stu­dents were hav­ing con­fer­ences with their ad­vi­sors so it was not a reg­u­lar school day.

Fri­day, stu­dents were met by many law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing seven from Prairie Grove, county sher­iff’s deputies, the Univer­sity of Arkansas K9 unit and state high­way po­lice.

O’Brien said stu­dents com­ing to school on Fri­day were di­vided into two lines. All back­packs were searched and a metal de­tec­tor was used as stu­dents en­tered the build­ing. Po­lice con­fis­cated many pro­hib­ited items from back­packs, in­clud­ing var­i­ous knives, tobacco, pep­per spray, cig­a­rettes and elec­tronic cig­a­rettes.

Po­lice al­lowed the front door to be the only en­trance into the school for stu­dents and teach­ers.

“We’re do­ing this to demon­strate we take no tol­er­ance and hope­fully it will dis­cour­age any fu­ture pranks or threats of this na­ture,” O’Brien said.

He did not want to re­lease all the de­tails about the threat or where it was lo­cated, say­ing of­fi­cers hoped to be able to iden­tify the stu­dent who wrote the threat.

Farm­ing­ton’s lat­est bomb threat was found in the girl’s bath­room on the sev­en­th­grade hall­way on Mon­day, March 12. Farm­ing­ton School Dis­trict in­formed par­ents about the bomb threat on its Face­book page the same day, say­ing staff had been made aware of the threat and law en­force­ment and school staff would closely mon­i­tor all build­ings.

Farm­ing­ton’s threat said, “im gonna blow up the school 3-12-18.”

Su­per­in­ten­dent Bryan Law said the school dis­trict met with law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties to form a plan of ac­tion. A bomb dog searched the school that day and ad­di­tional searches were planned for the rest of the week.

In­creased po­lice pres­ence was on cam­pus last week and es­pe­cially on Mon­day, the day the al­leged bomb was set to go off.

Po­lice did not find any­thing dur­ing any of the searches, ac­cord­ing to Lt. Chad Par­rish with Farm­ing­ton Po­lice De­part­ment.

Par­rish said he be­lieved Farm­ing­ton’s threats also were pranks but had to be taken se­ri­ously.

Law said of­fi­cials have spent a lot of time talk­ing about who would make the threats and why they would do it. They did not come up with any an­swers but came up “with a lot of ques­tions,” Law said.

Terry Lakey, prin­ci­pal of Lynch Mid­dle School, sternly talked to all his stu­dents last week about the two bomb threats. The first one was writ­ten in a boys’ bath­room and found Feb. 7.

“The real shame is that I’m talk­ing to nearly 600 kids to­day for the ben­e­fit of two crim­i­nals,” Lakey said dur­ing the first lunch pe­riod. “And I’m us­ing the word crim­i­nals be­cause that’s what they are. They broke the law. If caught they are go­ing to have le­gal con­se­quences, they are go­ing to be ar­rested. They’ll get to see a judge. They may throw away sev­eral years of their life over this. I don’t know what the out­come will be.”

Lakey told stu­dents the threats were not a game but were very se­ri­ous. He en­cour­aged any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the threats to tell some­one, whether a teacher, a par­ent or him.

If any futher threats oc­curred, Lakey warned stu­dents they would not be al­lowed to have back­packs on cam­pus and may not be able to move freely about the build­ing.

“I want to know any­thing you know that can help me solve this. I’d like for it to end not just for me, not just for the build­ing but for you all as well be­cause this is turn­ing into an in­ter­rup­tion for you,” Lakey said.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

This photo shows the bomb threat writ­ten on a stall in the girls’ bath­room at Lynch Mid­dle School.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

K9 of­fi­cer Rickie, a Bel­gium Ma­li­nois, sniffs stu­dents’ back­packs Mon­day morn­ing prior to the start of the day at Lynch Mid­dle School. All stu­dents were sent to the gym where they placed their back­packs against the wall. The mid­dle school had a threat last week that a bomb would go off Mon­day, March 12. Rickie’s han­dler is Of­fi­cer Ryan Bar­ber with Univer­sity of Arkansas Po­lice.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Terry Lakey, prin­ci­pal of Lynch Mid­dle School in Farm­ing­ton, talks to his stu­dents about the se­ri­ous­ness of mak­ing threats at school and what the con­se­quences can be.

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