Someone called in a bomb threat to on Friday, but kids were allowed back to class after no devices were found, police and school officials said.
Leslie Benjamin, public information officer for the , said all the evacuation procedures were followed after a message was left at the school at 12:50 p.m. from a phone number that was unidentifiable. Principal Mary Pritchard called the district office and got emergency procedures moving, including pulling all students out of the classrooms, Benjamin said.
“Police officers searched the school and didn’t find anything, so the students were sent back to class,” Benjamin said.
Novato police Sgt. Jim Tross said there was not any information he could release about the steps police take in dealing with such threats. Releasing that information might encourage people to try work around them, he said.
NUSD Superintendent Shalee Cunningham talked on the phone with Pritchard right after the message was left at Sinaloa, and Cunningham immediately left the district office for the middle school along with several other district employees, Cunningham said.
“We have a great community support system here,” she said. “We had four police officers there before I got there, and Bill Welch (from the contracted firm North Bay Security) and his team were there as well as some parents who had heard it on the (emergency radio) scanner. … The police searched all the classrooms and finished their investigation by 2 o’clock. Everybody was thorough and helpful.”
Pritchard and the Sinaloa staff evacuated students to a blacktop area on the east side of campus near Wilson Avenue, a spot where students could have been picked up by parents had they been not allowed to return to classrooms.
“The kids and teachers were great about it,” Cunningham said. “Some kids sat and did their homework.”
The staff brought students back to classrooms a little after 2 p.m., she said.
When Cunningham got back to the district office, she initiated an automated call-out process to notify parents in English and Spanish of what happened. Pritchard sent home students with a written note to parents about the incident.
“We learned a lot,” Cunningham said.
The person who left the threat just said, “There is a bomb at your school,” according to Cunningham.
“The police will certainly see if they can trace it,” she said.