WILLCOX — No explosive devices were found after a six-hour search at the Willcox Unified School District, Thursday.
The all clear was given at about 4:45 p.m. by an Arizona Department of Public Safety Explosive Ordnance Disposal team after a written threat was found at the Willcox Unified School District just after 10 a.m.
Just over 1,200 students from high school, middle school and elementary school were released at about 11 a.m.
“We think it's a legitimate concern,” WUSD Superintendent Dr. Richard Rundhaug told the Range News at the time of the release, explaining that, “If the police are concerned, we are concerned.”
“We don't want to take any chances with our students and staff.”
Everyone as evacuated and no one was injured in the incident.
Staff and students were allowed to retrieve vehicles at the school.
Interim Police Chief Glenn Childers said they made a sweep of the school, and then waited for an Arizona Department of Public Safety bomb-detection dogs and Explosive Ordnance Disposal team to arrive from Tucson to go through the district.
“It will probably take us several hours to clear the area,” Childers said at the time.
A note was scribbled in marker on a dumpster outside of the Agricultural Building at the west end of the high school. It said, “(Expletive) wit us & the kids die Bomb in the school.” There was additional scribble on the side of the agriculture building, Childers said.
Several students noticed the note and reported it, said Ag teacher Clint Sanborn.
Rundhaug said the note was not seen prior to Thursday morning.
After it was reported, the school district went into short lockdown in order to account for all students, and then the middle and high schools evacuated to the soccer field at the back east end of the campuses, and elementary students went to the playground.
Many of the students were in their fourth and final day of AIMS testing, and had just started the second test of the day.
Rundhaug made the decision to send the students home, as it would be “a long afternoon with all of the kids outside on the field.” Administration called in the bus drivers as soon as the buses and bus barn were searched and cleared, and allowed other students to call their parents and go home.
Parents of Willcox Elementary School students were called to pick up their children by meeting them and their child's teacher on the playground, Rundhaug said.
Childers said some information on what someone saw earlier that morning was reported to police, but Childers asked that anyone with information to call the police department at 384-4673.
“We are calling this just a hoax, and there was nothing to it. But if anyone has any information, we would certainly look into it,” Rundhaug said.
Also, day and evening classes Thursday at the Cochise College Willcox Center were canceled, as Willcox High School is next door to the college, said Liz Manring with Cochise College.
Classes resumed Friday morning.
Responding to the call were Arizona DPS, Cochise County Sheriff's Office, Pima Regional, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from Sierra Vista, who helped search the buildings.
“There were three bomb dogs and two bomb techs that went through the school with us,” Rundhaug added.