Bomb and gun threats force lockdown of 14 MCPS schools

Oct. 12, 2006, midnight | By Ethan Kuhnhenn | 15 years, 1 month ago

Separate incidents the fourth in a week for D.C. area schools

Less than a week after MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast sent out a letter to students and parents assuring that, after a spate of school violence in the Midwest, Montgomery County schools were tightening security, a bomb threat and reports of a gunman triggered heightened security and even evacuations on 14 campuses across the northern part of the county.

Administrators implemented a Code Blue alert at 13 schools, including Northwest and Seneca Valley high schools, in the northwestern region, after a 7th grade student at Kingsview Middle School in Germantown told his bus driver that a gunman accosted him at a bus stop and then threatened violence at his middle school.

Police and school system officials later verified that the claim was false, but only after the school had implemented the Code Blue, which meant that students attended classes, but could not leave the building and were under close supervision by security officers.

Across the county, students at Sherwood high school in Olney were also rattled by threats of violence. School administrators decided to evacuate the school yesterday after a 15-year-old issued a bomb threat that also turned out to be false. The 2,200 students at the school evacuated the building as police with K-9 units swept the Sandy Spring campus for explosive devices.

In the early afternoon, a third incident in the Gaithersburg area forced two elementary schools to undergo Code Blue procedures. Administrators ordered the lockdown after a burglary suspect, matching the description of the alleged gunman who had supposedly made the threats earlier that day, was reported to be in the area. The lockdown only lasted for about 90 minutes.

Yesterday's turmoil comes only weeks after tragic shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The bomb and gun threats also mark the fourth time in the past week that Washington area schools have been forced to lockdown or evacuate because of security issues. Last week in Culpeper County, Virginia, all public schools were shut down because of a bomb threat. Yesterday in Arlington County, Virginia, security was tightened at two schools after a student shot at a school with a paintball gun.

No connections have been made between the threats to any of these schools.

Ethan Kuhnhenn. Ethan Kuhnhenn is a junior in the Communication Arts program and is entering his first year as a SCO staff member. When he's not fishing in his new bass boat, you can probably find him at Taco Bell chilling with his best friend, the cheesy … More »

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