Recent bomb threats at two area school districts were monitored locally by the administrations at both the Van-Far and Community R-VI school districts.
On October 2, a bomb threat affected Mark Twain’s school district, and one day later, the Mexico Military Academy (MMA) also received a bomb threat.
Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter said his district was aware of both threats due to its good network with Audrain County.
He said the communication helps the district learn if the incident(s) are isolated or if they will affect somewhere else.
“When you have these things, it does create a self-reflection,” he noted. “Not every situation is in a manual…It shows you anything can happen anywhere and you always have to be on guard for that at any time.”
Community R-VI Superintendent Cheryl Mack said the situation was monitored in her district and no local action was taken.
“We did review our protocols administratively and will cover these with all staff again at our next PD,” Superintendent Mack noted.
“It is our responsibility to keep our students safe and provide them with the best education we can offer,” Superintendent Mack went on to say in a public statement. “We take every threat seriously and will follow our policy and procedure to maintain the safety of our students and staff (at) all times.”
More on the Mark Twain situation
At 9:18 a.m. on Monday, October 2, the district was alerted by the Center Police Department of an anonymous 9-1-1 call of a bomb in the high school.
According to a Ralls County Sheriff press release, all emergency personnel were alerted to the threat at the school. Responding units made contact with the Elementary School personnel and alerted them to the situation. At that time, all school personnel and students were evacuated into the gym area. Shortly thereafter, the students were evacuated to the baseball field behind the elementary school.
The Ralls County Sheriff’s Office had the cooperation from the following emergency personnel: Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Center Police Department, Perry Police Department, Hannibal Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, New London Fire Department, Center Fire Department, New London Police Department, and Ralls County Ambulance were used to secure the scene to ensure safety of all involved.
Bomb sniffing dogs were brought from Missouri Capital Police-Jefferson City, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois Secretary of State-Springfield, with Fort Leonard Wood on standby.
The schools were on lockdown for several hours until they could be cleared by thorough examination of the buildings.
Students were released to their parents or taken home by bus.
“We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while allowing us to ensure the safety of our children,” the statement went on to say. “We regret that this incident may have made an impact on the children and community. We strive to prevent any situations like this from occurring in our community again. Thank you to the many who have made this bad day better! May God Bless us all.”
A 15-year-old from New London and an 18-year-old from Quincy, Ill. were arrested and charged with making a false bomb report.
More on the MMA situation
Mexico Military Academy (MMA) administrators were alerted to a potential threat Tuesday morning (October 3) in the form of an anonymous note written by a student on the wall of one of the campus rest rooms.
According to information from Mexico Public Safety, immediately afterward, the cadets were moved to the campus chapel in order to facilitate an investigation into the matter.
MMA contacted Mexico Public Safety for their assistance.
After a thorough search of all cadets, cadet backpacks, and campus facilities, no weapons of any kind were discovered. Cadets have since resumed normal activity.
MMA officials continue to investigate the source of the note and disciplinary actions will be taken appropriately.