Parents question Monday's bomb threat at EL

AUBURN — Two Edward Little High School parents expressed worry about how a bomb threat Monday was handled at Edward Little High School and said a lockdown at the school was not the way to go.

Melissa Robbins told the Auburn School Committee on Wednesday night that everything she heard about how the bomb threat was handled Monday “is very scary and disappointing to me. The fact that the No. 1 thing was not to evacuate is very concerning.”

And to have a lockdown after a bomb threat “is a bad idea, until you know for sure," she said. "I've never heard of a lockdown after a bomb threat.”

Robbins told the School Committee she was concerned that the bomb threat was not taken seriously.

Assistant Superintendent Katy Grondin said the threat was taken very seriously, that safety was the top priority and that there was no lockdown at the school.

“I'm very confident we took every step possible," Grondin said. "We would never put your student, or any student, in jeopardy.”

The decision not to evacuate the high school was based on the information officials had. Grondin said she couldn't disclose that information, except to say a student had been charged in the incident.

Robbins countered that students were told they were in a lockdown: “You ask any student.” During the bomb threat, she and her daughter were in Massachusetts on a college visit.

“My daughter's cell-phone texting didn't stop for an hour,” Robbins said. “There was an announcement made for teachers to check their e-mails. Teachers checked their e-mails, then told the students, 'We are in lockdown.' So, either students were lied to about the lockdown, or you were.”

Grondin said no one was lied to, but there was confusion. The principal told her there was confusion about whether the school was in a lockdown, Grondin said.

Parent Kimberly Bantos asked about the policy and procedures for bomb threats, after Robbins said there was nothing in the policy book about how they're to be handled.

Grondin said there are procedures, but they are not public.

“You don't always evacuate every single time," she said. "You have to take into account information."

School administrators worked with Auburn police, she said. "As information came in, they made that decision based on knowledge I can't share with you.”

Parents also asked about the school's "probation" accreditation status, wondering whether it could hurt students applying to college.

School Committee Chairman David Das said he has asked that question of colleges and was told it could be a concern, but “no one comes out and says 'yes' or 'no.'”

The accreditation probation has not kept Edward Little students from getting into colleges, Grondin said.

Das explained that Edward Little's accreditation was moved from warning to probation because of the physical condition of the high school, especially the lack of science facilities.

The School Department has applied for state construction money to repair EL or build a new school, which would take the accreditation off probation.

Auburn should find out this spring whether it will receive state money. If it does not get funding, the community will have to decide whether it will pay for a new or improved high school on its own, Das said.

bwashuk@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Now you're trying to change the subject

Comparing a Columbine and the incessant bomb scares is comparing apples and bananas. They are so totally different....

 's picture

There was a time when we

There was a time when we couldn't imagine anyone shooting at kids at a school like ducks in a barrel maming and killing them either. We certainly couldn't imagine kids shooting other kids at school that way especially in a place like your school and then there was Columbine. And it wasn't the last. Did you imagine someone would go into an Amish School and kill the children? It happened though didn't it? Don't be paranoid, be aware. And don't worry, you already gave up your freedoms, you just didn't get safety or security out of it.

Keith Dutton's picture

To Wildfires

A bomb in a school that, as you say, "takes everyone out with it," would have to be planned by a demolition company. And placement of the charges for a school would take a week or so.

Let's get real here and stop the hysteria!

 's picture

9/11

every time someone tries to bring commen sence into a conversation someone has to bring up 9/11. do you not see how your fear is exactally what the terrorists attacked us for in the first place? you are thier success story. they didint care about a body count all they wanted was your predictable reaction. we cant live our lives protecting ourselves from every concieveable or imagined threat. the best thing we could have done after 9/11 is to keep on living the way we were. the only reason 9/11 happened is because the people on those flights thought they would eventually be freed. they cooperated based on that belife. the 4th plane let people make phone calls, once they realised what was going to happen they rose up and fought. no flight will ever be taken over again, the people wont let it. this over reaction is destroying american freedoms. all it takes now a days is an empty book bag to shut down a city. remember boston spending 2 million dollars over a lightbrite? when 100% of the time its a fake call you cannot over react.

 's picture

9/11 could have, no should

9/11 could have, no should have been avoided. Had the Clinton Administration been enforcing the laws, seeing to it that when student and other visas expired the holders got out of the country and if those found in the country illegally had been shown summarily to the border instead of sent back out into general population in hopes they would show up for their hearing, which they had no intention of doing, the terrorists would not have been in the country to board the planes in the first place. The country has been run by a bunch of mamby pamby whimpy PCers more worried about hurting an illegals feelings than protecting American Citizens, most recently and notably the current President. We now have the Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives, a definite move in the right direction and the Senate is straddling the fence. Hopefully come 2012 the Senate will make it over the fence and the White House will get a Republican with some stones who will close the barn doors, allbeit a bit late, and then start gathering the horses. All Americans will be a lot safer when only Americans and Amerca's legal guests are within her boarders, or as close as we can get. Have you ever noticed no one robs the house in the neighborhood that has the big mean dog and that every one knows is occupied by folks just crazy enough to shoot 'em if they do break-in? Same thing with this stuff, got to deal with them harshly, and make them too scared to try anything figuring the boogie man is just waiting for them on the other side of the door or border.

Jeff Douglas's picture

we can agree to disagree

however i belive some parents would tell thier kids the other kids punishment then it would be all over school. parents are not required to maintain confidentiality the school is. i went to EL and have children in the auburn school system. i would rather take my chances that thier is no bomb then have my kids living in what i see as unreasonable fear. im also the kind of guy who would have flown the day after 9/11 just to prove to the terrorists that they didnt win.

Jeff Douglas's picture

i should also add

that if someone really intended to blow up a school i doubt they would call in to warn people. the very idea of calling in a bomb threat is kind of counter productive if your intent in to do harm.

Keith Dutton's picture

Let's change procedures

Never, not once, has a bomb gone off in a school is this country. Bomb threats started getting "popular" in the early 1970s (I graduated from EL in 1974).

What if the threat was simply ignored? Think about it.... no bombs have ever gone off, and when the offender is arrested, 99% of the time, they are a current student!

Let's end this stupidity of cowering to every "bomb" threat in our public schools.

 's picture

No one ever flew a commercial

No one ever flew a commercial jetliner into a building as an act of terrorism untill 9/11 when it was successfull accomplished 3 times and a 4th attempt failed in one day and killed more than 3000 people. Do you want to be the parent of children in the first school that a bomb threat is called into that is not evacuated under your suggested policy and there is a bomb that takes out the school and everyone in it?

Jeff Douglas's picture

you dont need to know

but if revealing the info shows how it was obtained then they cannot use that investigative technique again. the students will know how they were caught and try something diffrent. also if some person did wish to do harm they could plan it around the schools policy. say someone wanted to shoot a bunch of kids, they know the schools policy and use it aginst the school. call in a bomb threat then set up outside the school with a gun and wait for the policy driven evacuation. there are some things we do not need to know. i dont belive there has ever been a credible school bomb threat in the US. as for the kids in a fight do you think the whole school should know that a student has to undergo phyc testing or counseling? seems pretty vindictive to be so concerned about the other student.

the schools acreditation is another thing entirely.

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