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Bomb Threat at Rocky Hill High School Showed Close Relationship Between Police and Schools

Early dismissal, emergency messages to parents and police response all worked without a hitch.

 

Rocky Hill Superintendent of Schools Mark Zito has been in the Education field for 20 years and he says that whenever a bomb threat is made against a school it is taken seriously.

He said in this day and age, months after the Sandy Hook shooting, the communities involved are much more sensative.

"Everybody has a heightened awareness now after Sandy Hook," Zito said. "I have been in education for 20 years and in my experiences, a bomb threat is a serious threat and has always been taken seriously. It hasn't changed for schools after 9-11. It hasn't changed for schools after Columbine and it hasn't changed after Sandy Hook. It's not any different as schools have always worked hard to be prepared for something bad to happen and how to deal with it. What is different is the people in the communities are much more aware of what is going on and are a lot more sensitive after Sandy Hook. That shook parents up and their senses are definitely heightened."

The call for the bomb scare came in around 9:45 when an East Hartford resident called East Hartford Police to tell them about a cryptic text they received by accident. The words "Bomb," "Rocky Hill" and "school" were in the text.

East Hartford Police called Rocky Hill Police and together they traced the phone to an address in Rocky Hill. The mother at that address confirmed it was her son's phone number and he was a student at Rocky Hill High School. As it turns out the text was about a possible prank using a stink bomb.

"We had the early dismissal go off at around 11:50 without a problem," Zito said. "We used our emergency messaging system to get the words out to parents and the students either took the bus or drove away from the school. By around 3 p.m. we got an 'all clear' from the police. On scene were Rocky Hill Police, East Hartford Police, K-9 units and the Hartford Bomb Squad. They searched the entire school to be safe and found nothing out of the ordinary."

Following the student dismissal, the staff was sent home and the police department conducted a thorough sweep of the building using bomb sniffing dogs. As of 3 p.m. today, the police department determined that the building is safe and that students and staff were never in danger. Rocky Hill High School will resume its normal schedule on Tuesday, February 26.

Zito said that the schools in Rocky Hill are well-trained for what to do in dangerous circumstances.

"We hold 'lockdown' drills at all of our schools so the students and teachers are prepared and know what to do if a dangerous situation arose," Zito said. "We do the drills a few times a year and randomly so everyone is prepared.

"I want to recognize the outstanding efforts of our local police department, and extend our appreciation to both the East Hartford and Hartford police departments who provided additional support and assistance with today's situation. As I noted in my earlier message, while the likelihood of actual danger was minimal, police and school district officials regard all threats as serious and proceed accordingly. Finally, the staff and students of Rocky Hill High School should be commended for an orderly dismissal which enabled the police to do their work effectively. We are pleased that everyone is safe and we look forward to resuming our normal school schedule tomorrow."

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