Sixth-grader accused of bomb threat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

COURTLAND—A sixth-grader from Southampton Middle School faces severe punishment after it was discovered that he was behind a bomb threat that forced the school’s evacuation on Monday.

The 13-year-old boy, whom police and school officials declined to name because he is a minor, has been suspended and faces expulsion from the school, as well as pending criminal charges.

Students were evacuated to the neighboring high school’s auditorium at about 11:30 a.m., after school officials discovered a written bomb threat that was &uot;very specific in nature,&uot; according to Detective Cpl. Richard Morris, spokesman for the Southampton Sheriff’s Department.

School Superintendent Charles Turner called sheriff’s dispatchers after officials at the middle school notified him of the threat.

&uot;Our people knew what they needed to do, and they performed well,&uot; Turner said Monday night. &uot;We don’t take any chances.&uot;

The superintendent also had praise for the sheriff’s department’s work to ensure the school’s safety and to uncover evidence that led to an admission by the student involved.

&uot;The sheriff’s department worked remarkably well,&uot; he said.

Morris said the Virginia State Police assisted with the investigation and also brought a bomb-sniffing dog to the scene. The dog was not needed, though, as &uot;the threat was found to be groundless&uot; before the dog could be sent into the school.

Students were allowed to go back to their classes for a brief time before they were released at 1 p.m. for the Veterans Day holiday.