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High school is evacuated after second bomb threat in two days

February 10, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM and DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport High School was evacuated Thursday for the second time in two days after a bomb threat was found written on a bathroom wall at the school.

Deputy 1st Class Carl Witmer of the Washington County Sheriff's Office said the threat was discovered by a school employee in an upstairs bathroom near the school's main office about 9:30 a.m.

Students were evacuated and walked to an adjacent school, where they spent about three hours before returning to Williamsport High about 1 p.m. after police investigated the threat.

Nothing suspicious was found, Witmer said.

Witmer said specialized K-9s were brought to the campus from Martinsburg, W.Va.

"We're going to take them all seriously," Witmer said, referring to threats at schools. "We're hoping that today's incident was a copycat."

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Police were unsure if Thursday's threat was written by the same person or people responsible for a message found Wednesday.

The school was evacuated for 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon in response to a threatening message written on a different bathroom wall.

Deputy 1st Class Michael Palladino said two students saw the message and reported it to school administration, which notified the police about 2:30 p.m.

"They found a suspicious message written on a bathroom wall," Palladino said. "As a precautionary measure, we evacuated the school. Most of the students were taken over to the middle school to keep them out of the cold until the search was completed."

Palladino said police did not find anything suspicious and returned the students to the school at 3:15 p.m., though afternoon activities at the school were canceled. He said an investigation is ongoing and police plan to analyze school surveillance tapes and talk to more students.

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