Bogus bomb threat shortens school day at Port Townsend's Blue Heron Middle School
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State Trooper Linda Allen and her canine partner, Sheila, inspect the grounds of Blue Heron Middle School on Friday after a bomb threat was discovered in a restroom at the school. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A threatening message on the wall of Blue Heron Middle School resulted in the evacuation of the approximately 400 students and the cancellation of afternoon classes Friday.

At 11:47 a.m., a message reading “Osama bin Laden I will bomb your school” was found on the restroom wall at the school, which is located at 3939 San Juan Ave., with the decision to evacuate the students coming about two minutes later.

Principal Diane Lashinsky consulted with the Port Townsend Police Department, State Patrol, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue and school district officials before making the decision to evacuate, said Port Townsend Police Officer Luke Bogues, the department's spokesman.

“Because of the length of time it takes to gather resources, school officials decided to shut down school for the day,” Bogues said.

Officials stood down at 4:45 p.m. after bomb-sniffing dogs found no explosives.

The bomb threat was the second threat incident Friday, following the discovery of a white powder at the Jefferson County Courthouse that turned out to be boric acid.

“I don't believe there is any reason to think these are connected,” Bogues said.

“They are in different locations, and the threat at the school seems to be in a child's handwriting, but ultimately it has resulted in a busy day for us and an inconvenience for a lot of people.”

The State Patrol Bomb Squad was at the courthouse finishing analysis of the powder when the call about the bomb scare came in and they moved from one location to the other.

Bomb-sniffing dogs from Bremerton arrived at about 2 p.m.

The students were instructed to leave all their bags and possessions in the school for later retrieval and were not told of the threat.

Students and faculty gathered in the field above the school, where they stayed for about 90 minutes when buses arrived to take them home.

Students who do not ride the bus and were not picked up by their parents were taken to buses at Port Townsend High School.

“Evacuating a school and sending students home early is not a decision that is taken lightly but is necessary when the safety of children could be in jeopardy,” Bogues said.

Blue Heron was the site of a bomb scare in June when a janitor discovered what appeared to be a pipe bomb in a closet and transported it to the police station in the back of his truck.

Upon its arrival, the bomb squad determined that the contained materials were hazardous but that tracing their origin was unlikely, Superintendent David Engle said then.

Anyone with information about the person responsible for the message is asked to phone the Police Department at 360-385-2322.

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

Last modified: January 18. 2014 6:16PM
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