Police investigating after bomb threats at multiple schools
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police are investigating hoax bomb threats made to multiple Oahu public and private schools Thursday afternoon.
Police said 12 schools got the threats, and officers were dispatched.
Authorities have opened felony terroristic threatening cases in connection with the threats.
Police said the threats, communicated in various methods, were made between 2 and 3 p.m.
The public schools that received threats include: Moanalua High School, Farrington High School, Washington Middle School, Radford High School, Kaimuki High School and Kalani High School.
Five of the six public schools that received threats had already let out for the day, said Department of Education officials.Only Kaimuki High School was in session at the time.
"After an initial threat assessment, Kaimuki High students were moved to a nearby field while authorities investigated," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, DOE spokeswoman.
Private schools that were threatened included Maryknoll School, Damien Memorial School and Assets School.
Dela Cruz added that even though Nimitz Elementary School was not directly threatened, it was evacuated, at the request of the military, due to its proximity to Assets School.
Maryknoll President Perry Martin said his school got a threat about 2:05 p.m. via Skype.
"It was a recorded message and all it said was 'I planted a bomb in your building. I planted a bomb in your building.' And it just repeated six or seven times," he said.
Patti Almirez, director of public relations and development with Assets School, said the school's threat was by phone, but was similar to a recorded "robo call" message, not a call placed by an actual person. It wasn't initially clear if the threat was for both campuses, said Almirez.
HPD Deputy Chief Marie McCauley said police are asking for the public's help in determining who made the threats. She said police take these threats seriously, and that the hoax calls diverted resources away from more pressing business.
Some schools are using the incident to evaluate protocols and notification systems.
Almirez said Assets Schools is re-evaluating its notification process after its phone system, which sends text and voice message alerts, failed.
During the after school pick-up, Almirez said teachers went to inform parents of what happened.
In addition to individual public school alerts and notifications, Dela Cruz said parents can also sign up for DOE communication alerts.
Dela Cruz said that parents entrust school officials with their child's safety and that's why its always their priority to first secure students.
As soon as officials can secure the students and mitigate the threat, then they work to notify parents as soon as possible, but "we always put students' safety first, something we train and drill for," said stated.
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