Washington High bomb threat unsubstantiated

Published 7:32 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Authorities responded to a bomb threat at Washington High School at 12:53 p.m. Tuesday, a threat that led to a school evacuation, according to Sarah Hodges Stalls, public information officer for Beaufort County Schools.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charlie Rose said the written threat was found at the school, and authorities were called to the scene to investigate. Among the responders were Washington Police Department, Washington Fire/EMS, N.C. Highway Patrol, Beaufort County Emergency Management and Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon searching the school grounds and buildings, authorities found there to be no imminent threat, Rose said.

“Of course, we have to treat any calls like that … like they’re real,” he said.

“The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office takes all threats directed toward the public, businesses and educational facilities seriously,” a press release from the sheriff’s office stated.

Rose said evacuation of Washington High was protocol for safety, and students and staff had to remain evacuated for about one or two hours while the authorities searched for threats. During evacuations, those at the school are moved to a designated location, and campus is blocked off, according to Stalls.

“We have protocols in place for events such as this, and we can always refine those,” she said. “I, personally, I called the parents the minute the evacuation was started. … We try to keep parents posted.”

Although no credible threat was found, the investigation is ongoing. As of Tuesday evening, there were no suspects.

“We’d like to appeal to parents to talk with their student to encourage them to come forward if they know anything,” Stalls said. “I think the officers did an outstanding job. We’re just very grateful for all the law enforcement response.”

Anyone with information about the threat is being asked to contact the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office at 252-946-0101 or Beaufort County Crime Stoppers by phone, text or through the website. Call 252-974-6400; text a tip anonymously by dialing 274637 on a cellphone and in the body of the message, type BCSO131 and the tip; or submit a tip through the Crime Stoppers website, www.beaufortcountycrimestoppers.com, by following the “Tip Line” link and filling out an online form.