RANDOLPH — Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office deputies are seeking information about the caller in a false bomb threat against Randolph Central School.
At around 7 a.m. Thursday, school district officials were alerted to a potential bomb threat at the school, at 18 Main St. Deputies characterized the notification as a generic phone call claiming a bomb was in the school.
“Safety protocols were immediately put into action across the district for personnel who had already reported to work, local law enforcement were notified, and the school was put on a two-hour delay,” said Kaine Kelly, Randolph CSD superintendent in a press release. “The timing of the threat made things difficult as buses were already out on their routes picking up students. Bus runs were immediately suspended during the two-hour delay and students already on the buses were brought to a safe location on the school campus.
“Due to the amount of time it would take law enforcement to clear the campus, at approximately 9 a.m. after consultation with local law enforcement the decision was made to cancel school for the remainder of the day.”
Deputies sought K-9 assistance for the search from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Lakewood Busti Police Department and New York State Police, as well as help from the Chautauqua County Bomb Squad.
By 10 a.m., the school was cleared and the students who were being housed at the school were reunited with their families.
“Safety is the number one priority of every employee of the Randolph Central School District,” Kelly said. “It is situations like these that remind you how important it is to continually revisit and practice proper safety procedures. We will use this situation as an educational tool for our staff to continue to refine our safety protocols.
“I cannot express how impressed I was with the response of our staff, students, and community in the face of an unfortunate situation. Everyone pitched in and worked together to ensure the safety of our student body. Rest assured the person or persons responsible for this threat will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
This is the third time a school in the community has reported a major threat in the past three years.
In May 2016, a 13-year-old Randolph student was charged after allegedly writing a bomb threat to the school. The student was charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident, a class E felony.
A threat of a potential shooting at nearby Randolph Academy, which serves around 100 residents of the New Directions Youth and Family Services Randolph Residential Program, was reported in February 2018. The incident was one of several “copycat” threats reported in the region after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting days before claimed 17 lives.
(Contact reporter-editor Bob Clark at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)