Bayfield Middle School was evacuated Thursday morning for a student who brought a spool of wire and a 9-volt battery to school and was calling it a bomb.
The boy told students that if they told anyone about it, he would hurt them.
That’s when some students reported the incident to teachers, prompting an evacuation of the building Thursday morning.
Bayfield Marshal Joe McIntyre said his staff searched the boy’s house Thursday afternoon with the parents’ consent, and deputies did not find anything suspicious.
Deputies are checking computers and internet sites the boy may have accessed, as well.
The student has been suspended, but McIntyre said he did not know for how long.
The Marshal’s Office and school officials will conduct a threat assessment to see if anyone has any further concerns about the situation.
“All in all, we got the outcome we needed,” McIntyre said. “We found the item, and the school staff dealt with the situation the best they could.”
The student’s father said it was a homemade phone charger, McIntyre said.
Once school staff members found out about the items, they decided to evacuate the school. A bomb-detection dog from the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office searched the building “and didn’t hit on anything,” he said.
“There was never any danger to staff or students,” McIntyre said.
The student left campus and was taken for a medical evaluation, McIntyre said.
During the evacuation, students and staff members were directed out to the bus parking lot, then moved inside to the sixth-grade hallway.
Marshal’s deputies searched the building, then students went back to class.
After the incident, several parents came to the school and took their children home.
Some parents criticized the school district’s response.
“First, I called the school because my son had texted me from class and was a little panicked,” said Jennifer Chamblee, the mother of a seventh-grader. “They told me the school was secure; everyone was fine and back in class.”
Chamblee said when she asked if she should take her son from school, she was told to call the superintendent’s office. Chamblee said she wasn’t able to reach Amy Lyons, the interim superintendent.
“A whole bunch of kids were crying,” said one student at the school.
Parents received a message and text about 10 a.m. notifying them of the potential threat and that the school was evacuated.
In an email sent at 3 p.m. Thursday, Lyons said it is the school district’s goal to respond quickly and provide accurate information.
“The school district’s response efforts are determined by what will keep Bayfield students and staff most safe,” she wrote in a letter to parents. “Once this is determined, response communication begins.”