BURNET, Texas (KXAN) — A bomb scare had Burnet Middle School under evacuation Friday morning, the third bomb scare in eight days.
Burnet police searched the campus, along with the Burnet Fire Department. The building was cleared shortly before noon, and students returned to class.
Burnet Middle School conducted an evacuation drill — similar to a fire drill — about 10:30 a.m., so that police could complete their search and sweep of the campus, according Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Keith McBurnett.
“This is in response to another written bomb scare,” said McBurnett immediately after the evacuation. The district said the threat was found in a bathroom.
When that alarm went off, Rachel Light and her classmates filed out just like every other fire drill. Her mother also thought it was a drill.
“I was led by school officials to believe it was just a fire drill,” said Rebecca Light. “No it was another bomb threat. I don’t appreciate getting lied to.”
Several parents could be seen pulling their kids out of school early Friday and the use of the word “drill” is what angered some of them.
“It wasn’t a drill,” said Elizabeth Stires, “they were sweeping for a bomb.”
A fire drill was used to evacuate the students out of the building and that is when the district says they cleared the building of the threat, but it has some parents wondering whether they are getting the right story, right away.
“It is not acceptable,” said Jamie Garcia. “There needs to be more preventative measures.”
Since the first threat 8 days ago which featured a lockdown and bomb squad, the district says they have put staff at restroom doors. Those staff members monitor which students are going in, forcing them to leave backpacks at the door. Because of that, they think they have narrowed down a list of students that could be the possible copycat.
After going through three evacuations because of the threats, some students don’t feel comfortable going back to class.
“My sixth grader doesn’t even want to be here,” Garcia said.
“(She’s) very scared,” said Stires, “my daughter doesn’t want to go back to school.”
At least, Stires says, until this crying wolf is caught.
Past Bomb Scares:
On April 10, police say another bomb threat was found written on a bathroom wall. An eighth-grader was been charged in connection with that incident. The most recent bomb threat at Burnet Middle School came Monday.
Students and faculty at Burnet Middle School were moved to an alternate location after a report of a bomb at the school just four days ago. Police then searched the school but found nothing during their sweep, giving the “all-clear” about 3 p.m.
Since the threats began, the district says they have put staff at restroom doors to monitor which students enter at what times and to also make sure students leave pencils, pens, and backpacks at the door. Some restrooms in the middle school have been completely closed.
McBurnett told KXAN the two “copycat” threats which followed the initial threat were not specific and therefore prompted a different response. A bomb squad was not called and students were evacuated by fire drill rather than locked down inside the building.
The investigation is ongoing in Monday’s incident, and anyone with information about this event is asked to contact the Burnet Police Department at 512-756-6404 or call the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office at 512-756-8080. Students can also contact school staff.
The threat indicated three bombs had been placed on campus and that if the bombs didn’t kill the other students, he had a gun to shoot the survivors, police said.
Police say the initial threat was found written on a bathroom wall. Authorities brought teachers in to help identify the handwriting, which led them to the eighth-grader.
Officers didn’t find any weapons on the school campus April 10, but when police searched the student’s home they found a pistol, several rounds of ammunition, and a large knife — all of which were confiscated.
Inside the boy’s bedroom, police said they found angry writings that matched the threat written in the bathroom.
During an interview with detectives, police say the student referenced an April 9 incident where 20 students at a Pennsylvania high school were stabbed.
The boy is being raised by a single mother, police said, and added that she is cooperating fully with authorities. Police pointed out the home situation and the lack of a father being present was part of the child’s potential anger issues.
Police are still unsure of a motive. Investigators spent April 11 interviewing teachers to find out if bullying may have led to the incident.
While the boy has been charged, school district officials said they will wait until officers complete their investigation before disciplining the student. They added that in cases like this, students are normally assigned to a “discipline alternative education program.”
As a result of that threat, the school was evacuated and each student was patted down as they left the building.