Bomb threats phoned into Lee schools - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bomb threats phoned into Lee schools

Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore
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August 18, 2004

Leesburg--  Though both threats turned out to be pranks, it's a problem that law enforcement and parents had hoped was a thing of the past in Lee County.

Two years ago, the schools dealt with frequent bomb threats that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

School is just a week in session, but studying was interrupted at Lee County Middle when a bomb threat was called in around 11:30 am. Minutes later, Lee County High recieved a phoned-in bomb threat.

"Well we take everything seriously and what people need to understand who calls this in is that this is a felony," said Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore.  "It is a serious offense."

Serious enough to evacuate the schools and call in Leesburg police, Sheriff's deputies, EMS and Fire personnel. But this time around, no bomb squad was called. "This time what we are doing different is, the kids aren't going home like they did last time," Moore said. "This is not going to be any vacation like it was last time, they have to stand out here like we are, and we are going to do sweep teams this time, and when the school feels it is safe for them to go in, then we will let them in."

The sweep teams are made up of school administrators, coaches, and maintenance crews, specially trained by bomb technicians to search the schools. "And what it is, they go in the rooms and look around and if they find anything out of the way, or anything looks suspicious, they leave it alone and then we will call someone who is certified to look at the things to come check it out," the chief said.

Both Lee County High School and Middle School checked out fine, and in just over an hour, students returned to class, while dozens of parents expressed concern. "In a year they have a couple of times a bomb threat when there is a real bomb threat nobody would believe they would say it is just a scare," said parent Harsha Patel.

These latest threats were just a scare, but it's a frightening problem for the school system. It's estimated that each individual threat costs taxpayers about $6,000.

The Superintendent says when the prankster is caught, he plans to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.

posted at 3:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com