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Law enforcement officers search Manti High School students’ backpacks before the students boarded buses to go home for the day.

Law enforcement officers search Manti High School students’ backpacks before the students boarded buses to go home for the day. – Robert Stevens / Messenger photo

Manti High evacuated after bomb threat

 

 

Lloyd Call

Associate publisher

10-18-2016

 

MANTI—A bomb threat called in by phone Tuesday at about 9:35 a.m. to the main office at Manti High School resulted in the evacuation of the school and classes being dismissed for the day.

Staff and students were moved to the football field, where sheriff’s deputies searched all of their backpacks. Within an hour, school buses arrived and most students headed home.

A little later, after officers inspected personal vehicles, remaining students and faculty were cleared to retrieve their cars and leave the school grounds.

“We have already begun our investigation into the search for whoever sent in the bomb threat, and have several leads,” Sanpete County Sheriff Brian Nielson said.

In an email about 1 p.m., approximately three and a half hours after receipt of the threat,  Manti High Principal George Henrie thanked parents for their support.

“I am on a bit of an adrenaline rush,” he said. “…This was a very informative day for us. We have always had the protocols in place, but until you need them, you never know what details you need to fine tune. Rest assured that we will be reviewing and improving all the policies and procedures and doing our best to continue to keep your children as safe as possible.”

Once the students were evacuated, the Sheriff’s Office locked it down and supervised a search for any sign of explosives.

A bomb squad from Utah County responded with five bomb-trained dog teams. By about 1 p.m., the school had been cleared. Law enforcement found no bomb.

“We are relieved that no one was harmed, and everything happened as it should have, from our point of view,” Kent Larsen, superintendent of the South Sanpete School District, said. He described the law enforcement response as “very organized and efficient.”

Once law enforcement gave the all-clear, volleyball, football and music programs scheduled for after school proceeded as normal.

But to secure any valuables students and teachers might have left behind when ordered to evacuate, Larsen said no one would be allowed back in classrooms until the next day when teachers would be there to supervise.

A press release sent out at 10:04 a.m., about 30 minutes after the threat was called in, said that no other schools were involved, but as a precaution, other Manti and Ephraim schools had been put on “soft lockdown,” meaning students were not allowed to leave the other schools for recess or outdoor activities. The soft lockdown was lifted about 12:30 p.m.

Sheriff Nielson said, “This was a good test for us. We believe all agencies cooperated with each other, and we quickly protected the students and faculty, which was the most important thing. We had about 25 officers from many departments assist in this effort.”

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About 25 law enforcement personnel helped lock down and search Manti High School for explosives after a bomb threat was called into the school office Tuesday morning. – Lloyd Call / Messenger photo

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Manti High School students get a day off after a bomb threat empties school. Law enforcement personnel found no bomb after almost three hours of searching. – Robert Stevens / Messenger photo