Bomb search finds nothing

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RUMFORD – The Mountain Valley High School library received a bomb threat Tuesday afternoon through its fax/printer.

Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said it was the first such threat at the high school since he began as district leader nearly three years ago.

“When this person is caught, he or she will be prosecuted and recommended for expulsion,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

The note said a bomb would be detonated in either the high school or Mountain Valley Middle School on Wednesday, Hodgkin said.

The note was found after the high school had closed for the day. Custodians conducted a search of both schools and found nothing.

After-school activities at the middle school were canceled because they were scheduled to be held inside. Activities at the high school went on as usual because they took place outside.

A University System science course that had been scheduled at the high school was forced to relocate, Hodgkin said.

Before students could enter either school on Wednesday morning, backpacks were searched and metal detectors used before people could enter.

Hodgkin said he and the district’s Crisis Response Team are working with the Rumford Police Department on the case.

Detective Dan Garbarini conducted several interviews at the high school Wednesday and is the investigating law enforcement official. Hodgkin has also met with Chief Stacy Carter.

“We have strong leads and believe it is a high school student,” Hodgkin said.

“The school district will file charges,” he said.

If the leads pan out, he said, an arrest should be made within a day or two.

A series of bomb threats struck the middle school in the autumn and early winter of 2003. A middle school girl was apprehended. She was expelled for four months, then allowed back in after meeting certain behavioral objectives, Hodgkin said.

“I want people to know if they are involved in such behavior, they will be prosecuted. My first priority is to protect the safety of students,” he said.

The cost to the district for the incident has not been determined. Hodgkin said those costs would be overtime pay for custodians who conducted the bomb search.

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