Mililani High evacuated after bomb threat, but DOE called it a 'drill'

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Angry parents converged on Mililani High on Thursday amid confusion over a bomb threat that the state Department of Education initially called a "drill" on social media, but that the school said in a letter wasn't planned.

The threat came in about 10:20 a.m., according to a letter from the school's principal that was sent to parents.

Principal Fred Murphy said after the threat was made, the school was evacuated and police were called. An all-clear was given about 11 a.m.

"All threats to our school or students are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly," Murphy said, in the letter. "We wanted you to have the facts so you can discuss them with you child and emphasize the seriousness of this issue."

After the threat came in, parents rushed to the school and at least 12 picked up their children.

And the state Education Department seemed to add to the confusion of the day by characterizing the threat as a drill on social media.

At 10:32 a.m., the DOE posted the following message on Twitter: "The second largest school in the state, Mililani HS, is performing an evacuation drill. HPD is assisting. Do not be alarmed if your are in the area."

At 11:11 a.m., a second tweet was sent out: "Success! All-clear given and evacuation procedures end with students heading back to class."

In an emailed statement to Hawaii News Now, DOE spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said Mililani High "received a threat this morning and out of an abundance of caution initiated an evacuation drill."

Dela Cruz later said "school administrators called for an evacuation and notified that an evacuation drill was taking place."

A Honolulu police spokeswoman, meanwhile, told Hawaii News Now that a written threat was discovered on campus about 10 a.m. and police were called. "Officers responded to the school and students were moved onto the football field as a precaution," the spokeswoman said.

While no suspicious people or devices were found, a first-degree terroristic threatening investigation was opened.

Last Friday, a note threatening violence was found in a classroom at Mililani Middle.  A few days later, a threatening note was found at Mililani High.

In a statement about the notes, the DOE said it considers "all threats a serious matter, which is why we've notified police."

This story will be updated.

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