A bomb threat consists of a message regardless of the source or form or truth of the message that someone has placed or intends to place in the school an explosive device or any material that will cause significant harm to persons in the school or damage to school property. The bomb threat message may be a telephone call, written, e-mailed, rumored, graffiti or any other communication method.
A. When a Bomb Threat is Received
1. A bomb threat received by any school employee will be immediately relayed to the Principal or designee.
2. A written bomb threat should be placed in a folder or a folded paper and should be handled as little as possible.
3. If possible, a telephoned bomb threat should be transferred to the Principal or designee.
a. The Principal or other person who talks to the caller will attempt to keep the caller on the line as long as possible to enhance the chance to identify the telephone caller.
b. The person talking to the caller should attempt to obtain, by direct questioning and by listening to background clues, and record in writing as much information as possible about
(1) The alleged bomb (e.g., its nature, size, specific location, what will cause detonation, detonation time);
(2) The caller (e.g., name, address, location, gender, age, background, motive);
(3) The identity of the person who placed the bomb, if the caller denies responsibility;
(4) The means by which the bomb was delivered to the site.;
(5) The caller’s voice (e.g., calm, angry, excited, slow, rapid, loud, slurred, distinct, familiarity); and
(6) Background sounds (e.g. street noises, music, office or factory machinery, animal noises, voices).
B. Procedures to be Used After a Bomb threat is Received
1. The Principal or designee will immediately call:
a. The Police Department,
b. The Fire Department, and
c. The Superintendent’s office.
2. If the Principal or designee determines there is reasonable cause to believe an explosive device is present and an immediate evacuation is warranted, the Principal or designee will order the immediate evacuation of the school building. The evacuation will be conducted as follows:
a. The fire drill alarm may include a building designated code to indicate that a bomb threat has been received;
b. If the Principal or designee determines that time permits, pupils will empty their lockers and leave them unlocked; and
c. School staff members and pupils will be evacuated to a waiting place at least 1000 feet from the school building and behind cover or to a predetermined area outside the school building.
3. If the Principal or designee determines an immediate evacuation is not warranted the building will not be immediately evacuated until law enforcement officials arrive on the scene and are provided control of the bomb threat situation.
4. The Principal or designee will also:
a. Prohibit the use of any electronic communication devices to include, but not be limited to cellular telephones and walkie-talkies;
b. Ensure any school buses enroute to the school or other vehicles entering the school grounds are redirected to a designated alternative location pending further instructions from law enforcement officials;
c. Notify and maintain contact with the Superintendent of Schools regarding the communication to be released to parents, community and media; and
d. Allow law enforcement officials to control the scene upon their arrival.
5. School staff members, upon receiving notice the school is being evacuated for a bomb threat, will:
a. Direct pupils to gather personal belongings in the classroom or within their immediate area;
b. Instruct pupils to not use any electronic communication device until instructed otherwise;
c. Conduct a quick visual survey of their classrooms for any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and report such to the Principal or designee;
d. Leave the windows and doors of their vacated rooms open and do not turn on or turn off any light or electrical switch;
e. Take the pupil roster and the day’s attendance;
f. Lead their class or the pupils under their supervision upon receiving the evacuation notice to the evacuation area;
g. Take attendance when arriving at the evacuation area and report any additional pupils or missing pupils to the Principal or designee;
h. Not allow any pupil to re-enter the building, leave the evacuation area, or be dismissed from school unless authorized by the Principal or designee or law enforcement officials; and
i. Not speak to the media or permit media to interview any pupil.
6. If law enforcement officials determine the building can be re-entered, the Prinicpal or designee will order the building to be re-entered. The regular instructional program will be resumed as quickly as possible. If the bomb threat disruption has occurred late in the school day, the Principal may recommend to the Superintendent that the school be closed and pupils dismissed.
7. In the event an explosive device is found in the school building or on school grounds threatening the safety of staff and pupils, the Principal or designee will:
a. Work with law enforcement officials to ensure the continued safety of pupils and staff;
b. Notify school officials at the evacuation assembly locations of the situation that pupils will be released for the day; and
c. In consultation with the Superintendent of Schools and law enforcement officials, will coordinate pupil dismissal procedures from the evacuation assembly areas and family notification and reunification protocols.
8. The school district will provide school district staff and other school district crisis response team members to provide counseling and support as needed.
9. All bomb threat procedures will be conducted with seriousness and dispatch. It is the intention of these regulations that the school community be protected against harm without conferring notoriety on the person who threatens harm.
10. In the event an explosion occurs while the building is evacuated, the Principal or designee, in consultation with the Superintendent of Schools and law enforcement officials, will coordinate pupil dismissal procedures from the evacuation assembly areas and family notification and reunification protocols.
11. The Principal will submit to the Superintendent a written report of each bomb threat received, the steps taken in response, and the outcome of the threat.
These procedures are recommended for implementation in the event a bomb threat is received. However, based on the circumstance or situation, the Principal or designee or law enforcement officials may modify these procedures if it is determined modification is needed to best protect the building’s occupants.
Critical Incident Response Procedures for School Administrators, Faculty and Staff – The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the New Jersey Department of Education – 2010
Adopted: 21 April 2005
Revised: February 2011