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Monday, October 14, 2019

Bowditch Bomb Threat Prompts A Safety Question

KIRK_bombthreat_OThe students and staff of Bowditch Middle School underwent a terrifying experience on February 4 when an unidentified person called the school at 1:20 PM and threatened to blow up the campus at a specific time with a bomb that was supposedly already on the campus.

“The teachers made us go outside without our backpacks and our phones and didn’t tell us what was going on. We stayed outside for more than half an hour, past when school ended. When we were finally allowed to leave, we couldn’t even contact our parents because our phones were in our backpacks which were in our lockers. We didn’t find out that we were evacuated for a bomb threat until later,” said Bowditch student.

The Foster City police searched the campus with the help of the San Mateo bomb squad and bomb dogs. After many hours of investigation, they found no bomb and declared the campus safe for students to come back to the next day. The threat was found to be a prank and the police are still working to find the culprit.

This incident calls into question the extent of safety that public school systems have in place. Everybody knows what to do for a fire drill, an earthquake drill, and a lockdown drill, but what about a school bomb threat? Why are we only prepared for things that seem to never happen.

Unfortunately, today’s society is full of people with no respect for the law, a skewed sense of humor and no ability to restrain themselves from causing havoc. Because of this, schools need to be prepared. There needs to be a standard, practiced drill for bomb threats and bombs going off on the campus during school, because no one knows what to do.

“The teachers got a call from the office and then all of a sudden they just told us to leave everything behind and evacuate the room. We had no idea what was going on, and the teacher didn’t know what to do either,” says Bowditch student.

The Bowditch teachers defaulted to a fire drill evacuation and didn’t tell the students what was going on and had no organized way of contacting the student’s parents about the threat, and this is downright irresponsible. It is a miracle that it was only a prank, no bomb went off and no one got hurt, but what about next time? Something needs to be done.

There is somewhat of a drill structure for bomb threats that involves schools evacuating to the closest school in a situation like this. Bowditch was supposed to evacuate to Audubon immediately after the principal received the bomb threat phone call, but this didn’t happen. Why? Simple, unorganization. The communication with both the teachers and the students was very unorganized, and because this drill was never practiced, along with the fear of the situation being real, people just didn’t know what to do.

This regiment of contacting the local law enforcement to take care of it as safely as possible, evacuating to the nearest public school and allowing students to contact their parents in an organized fashion is crucial in maintaining safety within public schools in today’s society.

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