April 9, 2014 10:24:03 AM
Two separate bombs threats were reported at Columbus Middle School Tuesday.
The first threat came as students were being transported to school by bus Tuesday morning.
According to Deputy Superintendent Craig Shannon, a student stood up and yelled to the bus driver "there is a bomb on the bus." The driver pulled over and evacuated the bus. Law enforcement was called to the scene and the bus was checked and cleared. The child was taken into custody and students were then transported to school, Shannon said.
That afternoon, a student found a note on the ground that read: "The school is going to get blown up. We don't know if it's going to be by train or plane or this afternoon or tonight or in the morning."
The school was evacuated and the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation responded. While law enforcement was searching the school, it began to rain so school administrations made the decision to bus the students to Cook Elementary, causing them to miss two hours of instructional time, Shannon said.
Tuesday's threats were the sixth and seventh bomb threats the school has received since school started. One student was arrested two weeks ago in connection with one of those bomb threats.
Shannon said he and school personnel are extremely frustrated with the barrage of false threats.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, my frustration level is a 10" he said.
School officials plan to hold a parents meeting soon to remind parents and students of the seriousness of the crime as well as the punishment. If a student is convicted of making a false threat, they face up to a year expulsion. If the threats continue and students miss more instructional time, Shannon said they would have to come to school on Saturday to make up the lost time.
Students at CMS are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Shannon said while they are still children, they need to understand the severity of the crime they are committing.
"Of course, middle school kids are going through changes and different phases of life, but they have to understand they're not kids anymore," Shannon said. "They're' teenagers and they need to behave as a such. A very, very serious crime that is being committed.
"All law enforcement personnel are frustrated and they have made a pledge to get to the bottom of it. They're as frustrated as we are. The amount of man hours and money that is being spent to ensure our kids safety in unbelievable."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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