Philipsburg

P-O high school dismisses early after bomb threat

Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High School dismissed early Wednesday after a bomb threat.
Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High School dismissed early Wednesday after a bomb threat. CDT file photo

Philipsburg-Osceola Area Senior High School dismissed early Wednesday after a bomb threat.

But administrators are hoping a high-definition camera system installed in the building last summer could help them find the culprit.

Superintendent Gregg Paladina said the threat was written on a wall of a women’s bathroom.

“It said something like, ‘I have a bomb,’ ” Paladina said.

State police searched the school with a K-9 unit and returned with negative results, Paladina said.

The school was evacuated sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to an undisclosed “safe site” off campus, and dismissed by noon, Paladina said.

“It came to the fact that we couldn’t feed the students so we let them go,” Paladina said. “Had it happened after lunch, we probably wouldn’t have dismissed school.”

Paladina said bomb threats are something that happens at district schools from time to time.

There was a bomb threat at the high school earlier in the year when an unidentified student left a note on a classroom desk, Paladina said.

“In the last three years there have been several incidents,” Paladina said. “At least one at the middle school and a few more at the high school. State police and the DA (district attorney) take these things seriously, and charge them to the fullest extent.”

In prior cases, the students have been identified, charged by police and disciplined by the school, but names could not be released.

Discipline within the district varies depending on the severity of the incident, Paladina said.

“It can be temporary suspension or permanent, and it goes on their record,” he said.

Cameras have been in the high school building for several years, but Paladina said high-definition cameras were installed last summer that capture clearer surveillance footage.

“We have access to these cameras that show who is going in and out of the facilities,” Paladina said.

Administration has a “short list” of students who might have been involved in the incident Wednesday, Paladina said.

More specific details could not be released.

To help prevent similar situations, Paladina said the district works with local police to hold assemblies and student-based programs.

“We work together to be as proactive as possible, and talk with kids,” Paladina said.

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