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Jan. 12 bomb threat empties high school

Oak Harbor High School was evacuated for several hours Wednesday morning after officials discovered a hand-written bomb threat.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., the threat was discovered in a bathroom at the school. The school evacuated students and staff from the building to a neighboring field.

Police officers, school officials and a military working dog, Rex from Naval Air Station Security, searched the high school. Explosives Ordnance Unit 11 from the base also responded to the incident.

“They went from room to room looking for anything unusual,” said Joe Hunt, communications director for the Oak Harbor School District.

Students took their book bags and jackets with them outside to make it easier to search the school.

“They sent us outside for an hour to an hour and a half,” said Nick Bratt, a freshman at Oak Harbor High School.

By 11:15 a.m., the students moved to the gym and fieldhouse after those two areas were searched.

“It took up most of the day,” Bratt said.

“Every possible option was examined to make sure the school was safe for students to return to class,” said Assistant Principal Dale Leach.

Eventually, the police allowed students into Parker Hall for lunch and, by 1 p.m., students were allowed back in class. Oak Harbor High School was dismissed at its regular time Wednesday.

“We wanted to try and return to normal as fast as possible,” Leach said.

While the students finished the day at 2:15 p.m., one student commented that the situation warranted students being sent home.

“I think they should have sent us home in the first place,” said senior Cameron Fuller. “When a serious situation like that happens, we shouldn’t have to go back to class.”

Officials have a procedure on how to deal with bomb threats outlined in emergency plans.

Oak Harbor Police Captain Rick Wallace said no suspects have been found in the case. Making a bomb threat is a gross misdemeanor the offense carries a maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine or one year in jail.

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