Police investigating suspect in bomb threat at Port Townsend's Blue Heron Middle School
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A State Patrol bomb disposal unit vehicle in front of Blue Heron Middle School following this week's bomb scare. — East Jefferson Fire-Rescue

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A suspect had been identified but not interviewed as of today in the investigation of a bomb threat at Blue Heron Middle School, police said.

Port Townsend Police Chief Conner Daily would not divulge the person's location, age or gender, but confirmed that a threatening message was discovered on the wall of a girls' restroom at the school Monday.

That led to school's immediate evacuation while officials sought a bomb. None was found.

Daily did not divulge the content of Monday's message but said that it referred to a bomb in the school.

It was the second such incident this year at the school at 3939 San Juan Ave., in Port Townsend.

On Jan. 17, a message written on a wall at the school said, “Osama bin Laden I will bomb your school.”

Investigators found no bomb after the school was evacuated.

After the message was found Monday, an emergency call was placed at 12:13 p.m.

Students were relocated to the nearby Jefferson County Fairgrounds and were dismissed at their usual 3 p.m. time.

The State Patrol bomb disposal unit arrived at 3:15 p.m. and cleared the school at 4:30 p.m.

“We have to act as if it were the real thing,” Daily said.

“The first thing I think about when I hear about something like this is that someone has a test they don't want to take.”

Principal Diane Lashinsky said that all previous incidents have been traced back to students and have been found to be groundless, but the school takes immediate action in each case.

It begins with an “emergency suspension” and could be followed up by a threat assessment of the student, required community service or a mental health evaluation, she said.

“The consequences always depend on the specific situation,” Lashinsky said.

“We work with each student and try to figure out what they are trying to communicate and what led to these poor choices.

“This is a kid reaching out, and is doing it in the wrong way.”

Lashinsky said that every time the school is evacuated either for a drill or a real emergency, the process becomes more efficient.

She said the school has already increased security and surveillance practices to keep a closer eye on students.

The school was also the location of two threats during 2013.

It was closed Nov. 6 after a student overheard discussing bringing a gun to school and an unexploded pipe bomb was found in a storage closet on June 28.

School was not in session at that time so no evacuation was necessary.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 15. 2014 6:27PM
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