The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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June 17, 2024

Bomb threat prompts evacuation of Walt Whitman High School

Whitman+Principal+Robert+Dodd+announced+Whitman%E2%80%99s+immediate+evacuation+on+the+loudspeaker+during+lunch.+Students+and+staff+promptly+exited+the+building%2C+walking+outside+into+the+parking+lot+towards+Whittier+Boulevard.+
Rebecca Waldman
Whitman Principal Robert Dodd announced Whitman’s immediate evacuation on the loudspeaker during lunch. Students and staff promptly exited the building, walking outside into the parking lot towards Whittier Boulevard.

On May 17, at 12:05 p.m., Whitman’s main office received a bomb threat from an unknown caller. The call marked the second in a sequence of three threats within Montgomery County Public Schools in the past two days. Police determined that the threats were unfounded and the schools were safe in all three instances. 

On May 16, the first threat occurred at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School and this afternoon, the second and third instances occurred at Walt Whitman High School and Bethesda Elementary School. The three schools are within a three-mile radius of each other, but police have yet to disclose information on whether or not they believe any of the incidents were related. 

Whitman Principal Robert Dodd announced Whitman’s immediate evacuation on the loudspeaker during lunch. Students and staff promptly exited the building, walking outside into the parking lot towards Whittier Boulevard. 

Junior Hope Rodgers was in the cafeteria when security guards told everyone to leave the school immediately.

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“We were in the cafeteria and suddenly security guards came in and said ‘You have to leave right now,’” Rodgers said.

At 12:23 p.m. administrators sent out a Remind message informing community members of the threat and the ongoing evacuation effort.

As students awaited further clarifying announcements, marked and unmarked police cars arrived with K-9 units at the building to evaluate the validity of the threat. Police deemed the building safe for reentry at 1:12 p.m., according to a Whitman community message published by administrators. At 1:18 p.m., administrators instructed students to report back to their 7th period and continue the school day on a regular schedule.

The threat occurred while students with extended time were finishing the AP Physics 1 exam, but no other AP exams were disrupted. Students with extended time returned to their exams after police had cleared the building, as per College Board instructions. 

After students re-entered the building, Dodd gave a short announcement over the P.A. system to clarify the situation.

“A bomb threat had been made to the school, and we determined that our best course of action was to evacuate the facility,” Dodd said. “We called 911 immediately and our police partners were here within minutes to then ensure that the building was safe.”

MCPS schools have seen an increase in bomb threats and an overall rise in safety concerns within Montgomery County. Junior Sadie Bastianelli is surprised by the sheer amount of bomb threats across the county.

“It’s crazy that so many schools in Montgomery County have been threatened,” Bastianelli said. “I don’t know who’s up to this, I don’t know if it’s the same guy, but I’m glad we have the police here just in case.”

 

This is a developing story.

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About the Contributors
Nikhita Dass
Nikhita Dass, News Writer
Grade 11 Why did you join The B&W? I wanted to be able to share news on current events and issues with my community. What is your favorite board game? Monopoly
Rebecca Waldman
Rebecca Waldman, Opinion Writer
Grade 11 Why did you join The B&W? I wanted to report on the issues that impact our community and write stories that make a difference. What is your favorite board game? Clue

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