School District 65 received a call on the morning of Sept. 22 to the effect that a bomb was at Haven Middle School, Pat Markham, director of communications for the District, told the RoundTable. She said a decision was made to evacuate the students from Haven to Kingsley Elementary School, the evacuation site for Haven students under the District’s emergency plan. Kingsley is located adjacent to Haven school along Green Bay Road.
Commander Tom Guenther, public information officer for the Evanston Police Department, told the RoundTable that police worked with District 65 administrators in reaching the decision to evacuate the school. He said in the exercise of caution a decision was made to evacuate the school, and in the exercise of caution Evanston Police called in the Cook County Bomb Squad to inspect the school.
An “all clear” was given at about 2:30 p.m., and Haven students were allowed to return to Haven for the balance of the day.
Commander Guenther said the person who placed the call was a “young person.” He said police were continuing to investigate the matter.
He told the RoundTable that it is a prosecutable crime to falsely report a bomb threat and added that if police arrested someone for the offense they would seek criminal charges. He also said parents of a minor who placed a false bomb threat could be required to pay the cost incurred for law enforcement officers to respond to the threat.
Ms. Markham said that a false bomb threat is a category 4 offense under the District’s handbook. The handbook provides that a student who is charged with a category 4 offense may be suspended pending a hearing on the charges, and may be suspended or expelled.
Ms. Markham said parents are looking for answers, but at this point the District does not have answers. She said, “A bomb threat can be very frightening to young children and their families.