OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Elementary School is now re-open to students following a bomb threat that prompted an evacuation Tuesday morning.
Just a day after a slew of “robocall” bomb threats at schools in Delaware and Maryland, Ocean City Elementary received a threat from a live caller.
“OCES received a telephone call — it was not a robocall it was a live call — from an individual who said there was a bomb in the building,” said Carrie Sterrs, public relations coordinator for the school system. “All students and staff were safely evacuated.”
She said the call, which came in at about 9:15 a.m., prompted the evacuation of students and staff to the nearby fire station. At 10:03 a.m., parents received a text message advising them of news from the school system. At 10:06 a.m., that was followed by an automated call from the school system advising them of the situation.
“Parents please be aware that this morning, Ocean City Elementary School received a telephone call to the main office indicating that there was a bomb in the building,” the phone message said. “In accordance with our protocol, law enforcement was immediately notified and all students and staff have been safely evacuated from the building and are being transported to Ocean City Fire Hall, Station #5 on Keyser Point Road. We are working in partnership with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocean City Fire Department to evaluate the safety and security of the building while ensuring all our students and staff are safe. As additional information is available, we will be providing updates.”
By 11 a.m. Tuesday, Lt. Ed Schreier of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department said the school had been searched and nothing had been found.
“The bomb dogs did a great job searching the school,” he said, adding that the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation was taking over the case.
The school system advised parents OCES was ready to reopen just after 11 a.m.
The Dispatch Editor Steve Green was on the scene by happenstance.
“I happened to be dropping off my son — a kindergartner at OCES — late this morning at 9:30 a.m. as the evacuation was unfolding. Initially I thought it was a fire drill,” Green said. “I was there before the police arrived and was notified by an office staff member a bomb threat had been phoned in. There was a clear protocol in place and it was being followed in tremendous detail through mobile communication between administrators and teachers. The students handled everything in stride. Students were initially lined up on the sidewalk outside the school and then relocated to a nearby field. I could hear firsthand the teachers reporting on their mobile devices that all students were accounted for. The school system’s first automated message came about 20 minutes later.”
As law enforcement in Worcester County were dealing with the threat at OCES, police in Sussex County investigated bomb threats at Millsboro Middle School and Beacon Middle School. Police said those incidents occurred at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Investigations are being conducted by the Dover Police Department, the Greenwood Police Department and the Milford Police Department.
Tuesday’s threats followed numerous similar incidents that occurred throughout Delmarva Monday. Classes were disrupted at Parkside High School, Indian River High School, H.B. duPont Middle School and Caesar Rodney High School yesterday as threats to each of them were investigated.
Additionally, Wicomico Public Schools released a statement on a bomb threat in Delmar.
“Delmar Elementary School received an automated call with a bomb threat this morning, Tuesday Jan. 12,” the statement read. “The call was very similar to the one received at a number of area schools on Monday. Delmar Elementary School immediately notified law enforcement and school safety personnel. An investigation and thorough search were conducted while students and staff remained in a safe in place status. Nothing was found in the search and school will continue today with enhanced law enforcement presence. Delmar and the Wicomico County Board of Education and Wicomico County Public Schools place the highest priority on providing a safe learning environment. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement in this effort.”