Bomb Threat Brings More Cops To Schools
SECOND INCIDENT AT MIDDLE SCHOOL
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.
This photo shows the bomb threat written on a stall in the girls’ bathroom at Lynch Middle School.
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.
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.