Bomb threat disrupts classes at high school
by James Phillips
May 22, 2012 | 2991 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carey Morgan of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad searches a hallway of Walker High School Monday morning. The school received a bomb early Monday morning. - Photo by: James Phillips.
Carey Morgan of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad searches a hallway of Walker High School Monday morning. The school received a bomb early Monday morning. - Photo by: James Phillips.
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Students at Walker High School received an unexpected break from classes Monday morning after a bomb threat was found inside the school.

Jasper City Schools Superintendent Robert Sparkman said a written threat was located in a bathroom around 9 a.m. Monday. School officials immediately notified the Jasper Police Department and followed its procedures for that type of threat, Sparkman said.

“We had a threat, and we treated it as such,” Sparkman said. “Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our students. We will take any steps necessary to ensure their safety.”

Principal Jeremy Crigger said the school’s more than 800 students were moved into Songer Gymn, which had been identified as a safe and secure area.

“Our students and faculty handled this situation as well as they could possible handle it,” Crigger said.

Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe said members of her department responded to the scene within moments of being notified of the bomb threat.

“Any time there is any level of threat at a Jasper City school, the Jasper Police Department will respond and treat it as a credible threat until we eliminate that possibility,” Rowe said.

Crigger and Sparkman, because of their familiarity of the building’s layout, helped Jasper officers perform a preliminary search of the building, looking for any suspicious packages. Rowe said a bomb-sniffing dog from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was called to Walker High and escorted throughout the building, but no evidence of a bomb was found.

“I was impressed with Principal Crigger’s safety plan,” Rowe said. “He cleared 800 children and his faculty from the main building in about 15 minutes. That takes a well-informed staff and a well-behaved student body. He and Superintendent Sparkman were a big help throughout this situation.”

Monday’s bomb scare was the first at Walker High in seven years, Sparkman said.

“We don’t have these things very often,” he said. “That is a good thing. These are serious threats and they come with serious consequences. We want our students to realize that. When we find the person responsible, they will face charges.”

Sparkman said video footage from inside the school has been given to the police department, and Rowe said the incident is currently under investigation.

Students returned to classes just after 11 a.m. The bomb threat happened on Walker’s last full day of school before summer break. Crigger said today through Thursday will be half days while students take exams, and the school’s graduation is scheduled for Friday night.

“We’re happy to put this incident behind us, so our students can get back to class and resume exams,” Crigger said.