Principal Alan Goodwin received an anonymous online bomb threat around 6 a.m. Sept. 21. Within a few hours, MCPS security, an MCPD fire marshal and an MCPD K-9 unit were at school investigating. Responders determined the threat to be low, Goodwin said, and instruction continued throughout the day.
A fire marshal and a bomb-sniffing dog came to the scene at around 9:30 a.m. and determined the level of threat wasn’t high enough for the building to be evacuated.
Goodwin received an email from an unidentified address telling him he had messages from colleagues on his Twitter account, he said. He then checked his messages and saw a tweet from a stranger suggesting that he go to a link because his school might be in danger. Goodwin then read a threat on the link saying there might be a backpack with explosives at the school.
Goodwin wasn’t sure how seriously to take the threat at first, he said.
“They’re usually pranks,” Goodwin said. “But then it was haunting me that it might not have been a prank.”
Goodwin notified MCPS security, the county police and the community superintendent’s office to help analyze the threat and determine its level of danger, he said.
“There was no actual backpack present and there was no actual person identified so it was hard to see it as a real threat when there wasn’t any physical evidence,” Goodwin said.
The key to keeping the community safe is to be vigilant and notify police or school officials if something seems amiss, he said. Students and administrators need to work together because students often have more information about things other students may be planning, he said.
The police continue to work to identify the person who made the threat, Goodwin said.
“I’m glad we made it safely through the day,” he said.