Atlantic Middle School to resume classes Friday following bomb threat


November 3rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green says a student from the Atlantic Middle School is in custody for allegedly making a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the school and cancellation of classes today (Thursday). Green says his department received notice about the threat late this (Thursday) morning. The threat indicated an “explosive event” would take place at the Middle School at a specific time. The State Fire Marshall’s Office was contacted, and it was determined the threat was not credible. Students and staff meanwhile evacuated next door, to the Nishna Valley YMCA. Green said a suspect was identified and approached, but they ran and were found at their home and brought in for questioning. Green says the suspect has admitted the threat was not credible.

He says while any charges against the suspect have not been determined, any such incident is considered a “Terroristic Threat,” and the suspect will be charged as the law allows. He has his own idea on how future incidents might be prevented, also. Green says when somebody disrupts the school system like that, perhaps classes should be made up on Saturday’s. That might make it less popular to make bomb threats. He says also, he hopes if the district does institute a policy to hold school on Saturdays to make up for threats, peer pressure will serve to prevent future incidents.

Atlantic School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Amstein said aside from the legal ramifications of making a Terroristic Threat, the student faces severe disciplinary action from the school district itself. He said “Any type of behavior like this is a pretty severe violation of (school) board policy, and the board has the authority to expel a student for an entire school year (365 days).”from the State Fire Marshall’s Office and Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green.

Amstein says the threat happened during the lunch hour, which disrupted classes and the lunch period, but the evacuation went as planned. Some questions were raised though, as to why the Washington Elementary School, which is just up the hill from the Middle School, was not evacuated. Amstein said they based their evacuation on recommendations

He says classes are expected to resume tomorrow (Friday) at the school.