SHS bomb hoax leads to chilly confusion

SANDUSKY A bomb threat at Sandusky High School left students out in the cold Friday afternoon.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

A bomb threat at Sandusky High School left students out in the cold Friday afternoon.

Though no bomb was found at the school, it was an emotionally explosive situation for some students and their parents.

At 1 p.m., Sandusky police were notified of a bomb threat at Sandusky High School, 2130 Hayes Ave.

Students were immediately evacuated from the school with no time to go to their lockers and get coats. They stood outside, some shivering and others huddled together for warmth.

According to Accuweather.com, at 1 p.m. Friday the temperature in Sandusky was 33 degrees.

Several parents who called the Register said their children were out in the cold for at least 30 minutes.

"I was in gym, I had my gym clothes on," said Brandon Green, a freshman.

Sandusky Schools Superintendent Bill Pahl said he estimated the students were only outside for 10-15 minutes before being taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center South Campus as prescribed in the school's emergency evacuation plan.

Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse estimated students were sheltered within 15-20 minutes.

"Too long for everybody's comfort," Nuesse said, explaining how the police department helped school officials get access to the hospital building so students and staff could warm up as soon as possible.

Police searched the school and did not find any explosives. By 2:30 p.m., students were back in school, Pahl said.

Though Nuesse said the situation was under control with students evacuated in an orderly manner, several students described the situation as chaotic.

"There were people crying," said Essence Cowgill, a freshman.

Students were not permitted to use cell phones to contact family or friends, but that didn't stop some.

"When students use the phones, they don't know all the details and things get blown out of proportion," Pahl said. "It induces panic sometimes."

Some students called their parents, who rushed to the school to pick up their children. Many parents were upset to find that they couldn't take their kids home.

"If our kids are in danger, why won't they let us get our kids?" parent Tonya Turner asked.

Walt Richard said his 15-year-old son, a sophomore at Sandusky High, suffered a panic attack after having flashbacks of his grandfather dying in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack.

"I hope the school does something about counseling because even though it was only a scare, what if it was real?" Richard said.

Carl Clonch was also at the school waiting to get his children.

"Nobody's telling us nothing," he said. "People are fighting to get their kids."

Nuesse said that kids "exaggerated the facts" and parents showed "up panicked and irate," which was disruptive and diverted attention away from the matter at hand.

Pahl said none of the students could leave the building because the school had to account for all them.

"The day was not over," Pahl said. "(The students) were in good hands at that time."

Nuesse said detectives continue to investigate the bomb threat.