Saturday, October 14, 2000

Amelia school scene of bomb threat

Incident follows week of racial tension

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        AMELIA — Middle school students ended a difficult week when they were sent home early Friday because of a bomb threat received hours before the high school's football game against Anderson.

        Officials do not know whether the threat, found in a girls bathroom at Amelia Middle School, was related to racial problems experienced at Amelia High School earlier in the week.

        Dr. Michael Ward, superintendent of the West Clermont School District, said the threat — discovered by a student at 12:30 p.m. in an eighth-grade girls bathroom — was scrawled on a stall door. It read:

        “There's a bomb in the building. It will go off at 12:45 p.m.”

        Clermont County sheriff's deputies searched the school, with the assistance of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Bomb Unit, but no bomb was found.

        The high school was not evacuated but was dismissed 15 minutes early to expedite busing students home.

        “We will find out who wrote this,” Dr. Ward said, “and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

        The bomb threat capped a disturbing week for the middle- and high-school campus at 1351 Clough Pike in Batavia Township.

        Racial tensions first escalated Oct. 5 when six students were involved in a fight in the high-school parking lot. Five were suspended.

        Last weekend, several students received hate e-mail at home.

        On Wednesday, 10 signs that read “White Power” were posted on telephone poles on Clough Pike and Amelia-Olive Branch Road.

        The district has stepped up the police presence in both schools. A police officer is on duty full time at the high school. Beginning Monday, Union Township's DARE officer will work at the middle school for two weeks.

        Security was increased for Friday night's game. “I doubled my security. We just wanted everybody to feel safe,” said athletics director Mike Rapp.

        No incidents were reported during the game.


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