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Bomb threats defused

| Friday, April 20, 2007

Classes were scheduled to be in session today in three Alle-Kiski school districts where bomb threats were received in the past two days.

Affected school districts were Plum, Allegheny Valley and Freeport Area.

Here's a look at each situation:

= Plum police arrested an unidentified juvenile Thursday. The boy was released to his parents.

Police sealed off and searched Plum High School last night.

Authorities said the threat indicated that an incident would occur today.

School will be in session with strict security in place, despite the arrest, the district said on its Web site.

The high school was to be locked until 7 a.m. today. Students weren't allowed to bring backpacks or large bags or purses to school today.

Only three entrances to the building were scheduled to be open from 7 to 7:30 a.m. The building was to be locked at 7:35 a.m. once students arrived.

= Classes were to resume today in the Allegheny Valley School District after they were canceled Thursday.

Police will patrol the high school.

Officials said a driver found a handwritten note on a bus Wednesday that said a bomb would go off Thursday. It did not target a specific school.

Police searched Springdale Jr./Sr. High School on Wednesday night and again Thursday with a bomb-sniffing dog and found nothing.

The school district posted a statement on its Web site that "the district administration and school board stress that they do not believe that there is any evidence that the threat is credible; however, they are taking all appropriate precautions."

School officials met Thursday to review safety procedures, said Superintendent Gabriel Ziccarelli.

Ziccarelli said the district has a plan that identifies each situation the school has encountered and how to handle it in the future.

"We make changes as needed to whatever situations come up," he said.

Springdale Police Chief Joe Naviglia Jr. said police had no leads Thursday afternoon. He said possible charges could include reckless endangerment and creating a catastrophe.

= The Freeport Area School District had bomb threat occurred Wednesday afternoon at Buffalo Elementary School.

Students were evacuated to a nearby church.

The school was searched with a police dog and nothing was found.

Students returned to the school at about 3 p.m. and the children finished the school day. They were sent home with a note about the incident.

Classes resumed Thursday.

A high school secretary who did not identify herself said she was passing along a statement from the superintendent and said, "this is a school matter, and we wish not to comment."

Buffalo Township police are investigating.

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