Last week, two empty bomb threats were made locally.
One threat was made to Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School (BBCHS) and the other to the Bradley Police Department, pushing the local bomb threat hoax count up to three in the last four months, starting with the hoax bomb threat made to the Secretary of State office in Bradley in late July.
BBCHS received the bomb threat call last Monday morning, Nov. 9, leading the school to promptly evacuate their approximate 2,000 students to the school track and football field.
The students were in their fourth hour class during the evacuation.
“[We were] mainly confused because the teachers did not know what was going on,” BBCHS freshman Maiah Caise said, “But I figured [the evacuation] was just some sort of drill.”
BBCHS Superintendent Scott Wakeley said that one of the high school’s evacuation site options is Olivet Nazarene University’s Centennial Chapel, but this is a choice typically reserved for colder weather.
“[Centennial Chapel] is not necessarily for bomb threats, but a general evacuation option,” Wakeley said. “It depends on the type of threat; whether it’s a gas leak, or a fire or something like that, and weather is a factor, too,” he added. During the colder months, Wakeley said it would be more likely the students would need to evacuate to an indoor location like Centennial Chapel in case they needed to be evacuated for an extended period of time.
Evacuation procedures are also dependent on the time of day, Wakeley said. During a school gas leak two years ago, the school chose to call the busses and release the students since it was later in the school day. The bomb threat made last week in the morning however, resulted in students ultimately being released to go home around 12:30 p.m., as well.
“[I figured that the school] knew what they were doing [when they released students] and wanted to take every precaution before letting us back into a possible dangerous situation,” Caise said.
Two BBCHS students were arrested for the call later that night and sent to the juvenile detention center in Joliet; they were charged with felonies the following morning.
Wakeley said the school board will have a hearing before the end of the month to decide whether or not the students will receive a suspension or an expulsion that could last up to two calendar years.
Two days following the bomb-threat-proved-hoax at BBCHS, the Bradley Police Department received a bomb threat, as well.
According to the Daily Journal, on Wednesday, Nov. 11, a 16-year-old Bradley girl set up a fake Facebook account to send threatening messages to the police. The threat was determined to be a hoax and she was arrested three hours later and charged with felony disorderly conduct, the same charge against the two BBCHS students.
“We are going to find you and deal with you, regardless if it is a prank,” Det. Sgt. Robert Mason told the Daily Journal. “We take these serious. Hopefully, this gets the message out there.”
“It seems like kids these days seem to think that schools and police don’t work together or talk to each other,” Mason said. “We are in a group effort, we cooperate together, and I think that will prevent this from happening again.”
—Taylor Provost, News Editor