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Clawson

May 15, 2013

Clawson High School evacuated for second bomb threat

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

Clawson police are investigating the second bomb threat within a month at the city’s high school.

Officials said a student found a message in pencil in a boys bathroom May 13 that claimed there was a bomb in the building.

Police Chief Harry Anderson said the Police Department has made no arrest and called finding the culprit “challenging.”

“There’s every bit of possibility that (the threat has) been there for quite some time,” Anderson said.

He said the Police Department had the school evacuated at about 1:30 p.m. for about 40 minutes as police and school staff searched the building for anything out of place.

Anderson said no matter how many false threats there are, the police have to do their due diligence to ensure it isn’t a valid threat.

“You can’t take them lightly,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, it takes a lot of resources and a lot of time. It’s something you have to take seriously. You can’t brush it off automatically.”

In April, there was a similar message found in a girls bathroom. That threat, according to police, was written on a bathroom stall.

Both Clawson and Michigan State Police searched the building but found nothing suspicious, according to officials.

Superintendent Monique Beels discussed the bomb threat during the May 13 Board of Education meeting, calling the written message “obscure.”

She said it was written using a pencil on a dark red wall in one of the school’s busiest bathrooms and could have been overlooked.

Board of Education Trustee Kevin Sheridan questioned if the two threats and any subsequent ones would lead to more school days being added on at the end of the year.

“Perhaps if the students realized that you might be going to school longer in the summer, they might stop making idle threats,” Sheridan said.

Beels said she wasn’t sure if the district could do that or not.

On May 14, high school Principal Ryan Sines was communicating with students, ensuring that they understand the seriousness of making a bomb threat. At the end of first hour, Sines was on the school’s public address system attempting to make clear the gravity of the situation.

“I just explained that making a bomb threat is a felony and is an expellable offense, as well,” he said.

Sines also has put in place changes to student bathroom use. After the first threat, students who had gone to the bathroom while classes were in session were asked to sign out to better track the students. Now, the bathrooms will be locked and high school students wanting to use the bathroom must ask for keys. The only time the bathrooms will be unlocked will be during lunch, Sines said. After the bathroom is used, hall monitors or school staff will inspect the bathroom walls for any threats.

“It’s kind of tedious, but it’s one of those extra measures that we are willing to take,” Sines said.

He said the policy will be in place through the end of the school year and will be reassessed over the summer.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.