Bomb threat evacuates school, delays final exams to Jan. 3

Students and staff evacuated the school after a bomb threat was called in at around 9 a.m. this morning. Police and K-9 units swept the school for threats before students and staff were allowed to return hours later. The disruption pushed the completion of final exams to Jan. 3.

“We took a call from someone this morning that said there was a bomb threat, and that there was a bomb here in the school,” Principal Dr. Betsy Bockman said on the announcements following the evacuation and search. “We did a human search and then brought in the K-9 unit, we had five dogs here that searched the whole building, which is why it took so long. They searched all of the building, all the facilities, and found nothing, which is thankfully, what we had expected and hoped for, but we can never take a chance on this.”

According to a statement from Atlanta Public Schools, “APSPD will continue to investigate the source of the call and thanks all of the partner agencies that assisted with the search and are assisting with the investigation, and thanks parents for their cooperation as well. The safety and security of students and staff will always be a top priority for Atlanta Public Schools.”

Junior Mari’yon Corter said he felt unsafe before entering Piedmont Park as there was little information given out alerting students and staff of what was going on after the alert to leave the building. 

“I thought it was a drill at first because we’ve never had a bomb threat type of drill,” Corter said. “When they said it was real, and police started coming up, it started to get real scary.”

The evacuation occurred during the 3A class period and continued through 4A, disrupting both final exams. Today’s two exams have been rescheduled for Jan. 3, when students and staff return from Holiday Break. 

“I just think it’s a sad situation to watch the way that events like this caused anxiety and [disrupt] people’s sense of focus and well being,” social studies teacher Christopher Rhodenbaugh said. “Our mission in a school is to make sure that students learn but also become young people who are confident, able to be resilient and able to adapt. Something like this in exam week is just really disruptive personally and academically in ways that are unfortunate.”

Freshman Chad Faulkner is frustrated with the exam rescheduling. 

“I feel annoyed because I did all that studying, and by the time the new exams come, I’m going to be unprepared,” Faulkner said. 

Senior Lauren Abramowitz said although she was concerned initially, she was not worried throughout the evacuation.

“I was a little bit spooked when I was taking my final and I heard the announcement but I think it’s going to be okay because nobody seems stressed and the teachers seem calm,” Abramowitz said.

Rhodenbaugh believes the administration’s response to the threat was effective.

“I thought it was good that they put us all in one location in Piedmont Park,” Rhodenbaugh said. “We’re lucky that we’re in a school building that has this space right across the street from the school. It seems like everybody’s on it and doing what they can.”