A police-led bomb sweep occurred today after school in response to a bomb threat. During the investigation, staff and students were asked to leave the premises. No bombs were found, and police declared the campus safe at 5:15 p.m.
Foothill was alerted to the threat, which was written on the wall in the girls’ restroom, just before the school day ended.
Staff were alerted to the threat at 2:30 p.m. and subsequently asked at approximately 2:50 p.m. to leave the premises. At 3:00 p.m., transportation was arranged for all students still on campus. Students were given the options of leaving campus or getting on a bus headed for Buena or Ventura High School.
In an email and phone call to parents, principal Joe Bova said he “apologize[s] for any inconvenience.”
“Although we believed the threat to be a hoax, we proceeded with district and police protocol and had the campus searched by the Ventura Police Department with the assistance of the US Navy trained bomb detecting dogs,” Bova wrote.
The Ventura Police Department told the Dragon Press at 4:42 p.m. that officers were still investigating the area and that they had “dispatched officers immediately” after receiving a call at 4:19 p.m. However, as many as five police vehicles had been present at Foothill since 2:05 p.m.
Due to the “2-4-6 only” schedule day, no classes were in session after 1:55 p.m., although some students were still on campus. Ventura Unified Superintendent Michael Babb was present during the police-led search.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/232382732″ params=”color=db0606&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Junior Joshua Ramirez experienced the situation firsthand. Ramirez was in a classroom when “all of sudden, a boom came from the intercom system: ‘attention all teachers, please have your students come to the front of the school.’”
“Not more than five minutes later another speech on the intercom came on: […] ‘all students go to the front of the school, there is a bomb threat in the bathroom that one will go off tomorrow, we are bringing police officers with dogs to sniff out the school’ so I left to the front of the school immediately,” Ramirez told the Dragon Press.
Classes will run normally tomorrow.
Clarification: Joshua Ramirez is quoted as saying that the announcements were over the intercom. The announcement was through the school phone intercom system, which is only audible in classrooms.
Tyler Herzog and Chloe Hilles contributed to the reporting of this article.