Bomb threat clears school

A reward may be offered for information on the perpetrator.

A hand-written bomb threat cleared Woodward Middle School of students for hours Monday.

The threatening note was found by a student in the school commons just before 10 a.m., Bainbridge Police Lt. Phil Hawkins said. It was turned over to an administrator, with district officials and law enforcement notified in turn.

Because the note was credible enough to raise suspicions, students were evacuated and a multi-agency bomb squad was brought in, including explosives-sniffing dogs from Bangor.

“We’re not going to discount direct threats to the safety of the students,” Hawkins said. “We’re going to take all reasonable precautions. That’s the city’s stance and that’s the district’s stance. In this case, that was done.”

An estimated 600 students stayed on the school grounds throughout the afternoon, and were finally let back into the building at 2:40 p.m.

School district officials said they will conduct an investigation to try and determine who wrote the note, with the perpetrator presumed to be a student. The youth’s family could be billed for the cost of the law enforcement response and other expenses incurred, officials said; a reward may be offered for information leading to the perpetrator’s identity.

It was the first such threat at an island school in about three years, since a message left on an answering machine led to the evacuation of Ordway Elementary School.

“Of course, that was pre-9/11,” Superintendent Ken Crawford said. “So we take these things even more seriously now.”

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