Seven northern Virginia high schools received robocall bomb threats on Friday afternoon that disrupted classes and in some cases caused forced evacuations.
Police in Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington counties and the city of Falls Church responded to the threats, according to the Associated Press. None were found to be legitimate.
Police say the recorded messages started coming in about 11:30 a.m. Friday, and were targeted at the following schools: McLean, Westfield, Herndon and The Potomac School in Fairfax County; Stone Bridge in Loudoun; Bishop O’Connell in Arlington County and George Mason High in Falls Church, according to WRC-TV. Although Bishop O’Connell, Stone Bridge and George Mason were evacuated, authorities later declared the threats to be false and gave the schools an all-clear.
“Police are investigating and have determined the threats are not credible, and are intended only to disrupt school operations,” Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) said in a statement. “We do not believe any FCPS students are at risk and we are continuing with normal school operations at all of our schools for the remainder of the day.”
Arlington and Falls Church police said the recorded calls in their jurisdictions appear to be connected to those in the other counties, the AP reported.
“Unfortunately, it’s pretty much business as usual. That’s what we’ve been seeing almost every school day this whole academic year. We’re averaging nationally somewhere between eight to ten bomb threats a day,” Dr. Amy Klinger with the Educators Schools Safety Network told WRC. “We look at threats and think oh, okay well maybe nothing’s probably going to happen. But the problem is schools are really in this dilemma of you have to do something. We can’t ignore it. But yet, we’re continually evacuating and so it really becomes a frustrating experience for schools.”