February 1, 2007

Bomb Threat Forces Evacuation of School

A bomb threat interrupted play midway through the second period of the varsity boys basketball game at Scotland County R-I High School on Tuesday evening, January 29th.

At approximately 7:50 p.m. High School Principal Ken Cross stopped play and announced that the school was to be evacuated because a bomb threat had been received. Cross announced the move was being made according to established safety protocol. The packed gymnasium was quickly emptied in an orderly fashion.

The move was made necessary after a bomb threat was phoned into the school.

At approximately 7:45 p.m. varsity girls basketball coach Kelli Swearingen was in the high school office faxing her game results to an area newspaper. She answered the phone, and indicated a male caller stated there was a bomb in the school.

“I was faxing my stats to the Herald-Whig,” she said. “Sometimes they have trouble receiving them and they call me to let me know I need to resend them. That’s what I was expecting when I picked up the phone.”

Swearingen immediately notified a faculty member in the hallway who made contact with Principal Cross.

Following the evacuation of the building, the Memphis Police Department, Scotland County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol arrived on the scene along with the Scotland County Fire and Rescue and Scotland County Ambulance Service.

Officers began a search of the building. The investigators also placed the call for a bomb-squad dog to be dispatched to the scene, The special unit is out of the Jefferson City area.

While awaiting the arrival of the special unit, volunteers began notifying residents in a two-block radius of the school of the situation and recommending evacuation of the surrounding homes until the situation could be resolved.

The search of the building continued at 10:30 p.m. Investigators were also working to trace the phone call.

At press time no decision had been made regarding school on January 30th.

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