DERRY | A bomb scare emptied Pinkerton Academy for a half an hour Wednesday, after the second such threat at an area high school in as many days.

Responding to a report of vandalism at 9:54 a.m., police found a handwritten note on the wall of the girls bathroom dated for Wednesday, with the words "12 o'clock" and a warning that a bomb would go off somewhere on campus.

Students were evacuated from the many school buildings at 11:45 a.m. and remained on the lawns of the sprawling campus until 12:15 p.m. Students said school administrators and faculty would not tell them the reason for the evacuation as they waited outside in the rain.

School resumed as usual after the evacuation and no one has been arrested in connection with the incident.

"We took this action in light of the recent events at Virginia Tech and the closeness to the Columbine anniversary," Pinkerton Academy Headmaster Mary Anderson said in a note to parents.

On Monday, 23-year-old Virginia Tech student Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 people at the college in Blacksburg, Va., before taking his own life. Tomorrow will mark the eighth anniversary of the shooting spree in which students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado.

The Pinkerton incident also comes just one day after Salem High School teachers received threatening notes promising acts of violence tomorrow.

Students interviewed outside Pinkerton Academy Wednesday were rattled by the evacuation and upset that school officials didn't tell them what was going on.

"Virginia Tech was just this week," said Valerie Oliveira, 18, of Derry, a senior at the school. "The students should have a right to know. They won't tell the students anything. They wouldn't even let us call our parents."

Students said an administrator spoke over the school intercom system shortly before 11:45 a.m., telling teachers to read their e-mail. Students then were told to evacuate the building. Students weren't allowed to use their cell phones, they said. If they tried to, the phones were taken away.

Oliveira's friends, Ashley Moffitt and Jessica Bernard, both 18-year-old seniors, agreed. Bernard said she was concerned about the threats made at Salem High School and not knowing what was happening at Pinkerton made it worse.

Moffitt said she could understand not telling students what was going on if only one building was evacuated. But because the campus has several buildings, leaving the students outside and not telling them why they were there made them feel unsafe.

"It's too big of a campus," Bernard said.

Academy spokesman Robin Perrin said students weren't told what was going on because of the possibility that incorrect informationwould be delivered to parents.

"They mishear or exaggerate it," Perrin said.

Once students returned to class, a fire alarm went off in the Shepard building, which was again evacuated. Police were unable to determine what set the alarm off, but said it wasn't connected to the bomb threat.

This is the second time this year the school has been threatened.

In January, all Derry schools went into emergency mode because a threatening note was found at Pinkerton Academy. A staff member found a note promising violence outside in the center of the campus. The threat led police to advise all seven public schools in the district to put lock-ins in place, meaning students were not allowed outside for recess or gym.

While police were busy investigating the January threat, four fires were deliberately set in Pinkerton bathrooms.

No one has been arrested in connection with that incident. Anyone with information on Wednesday's incident is asked to call Derry police at 432-6111.

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you