The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

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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 19, 2024

Cyber-bomb threat forces Whitman into shelter-in-place, evacuation

During+the+incident%2C+students+circulated+multiple+TikTok+posts+from+the+same+user+containing+threatening+messages+and+images.+School+administrators+have+yet+to+confirm+that+this+account+was+the+originator+of+the+threat.+
Rishith Alimchandani
During the incident, students circulated multiple TikTok posts from the same user containing threatening messages and images. School administrators have yet to confirm that this account was the originator of the threat.

An anonymous social media user posted a bomb threat online at 9:45 this morning targeting Whitman High School. Whitman administrators called 911 upon receiving notification of the threat. Montgomery County Police arrived to secure the exterior of the school, evacuate students and then sweep the interior before the school day resumed.

During the incident, students circulated multiple TikTok posts from the same user containing threatening messages and images. School administrators have yet to confirm that this account was the originator of the threat. The account is no longer accessible.  

Whitman Principal Robert Dodd announced Whitman’s immediate shelter-in-place on the PA system at 10:11 a.m.. In his announcement, Dodd instructed students to stay inside their classrooms, staff to lock their classroom doors, cover all windows and continue instruction.

 Sophomore Longson Zhang was in Health class when the shelter-in-place began.

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“My class was doing a project when we had to stop and lock the doors,” Zhang said. “It was scary, but these threats need to be taken seriously.”

Due to the temporarily broken PA system, students in the new building didn’t receive the shelter-in-place announcement until other staff members informed them in person. 

Throughout the shelter-in-place, administrators continuously updated the community on the situation through Remind messages and Canvas emails. 

This incident follows a series of bomb threats against schools in the area, including prior threats against Whitman, Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School and Bethesda Elementary School made in mid-May. 

Administrators’ communication confirmed that, unlike the May 17th phone threat, today’s came online.

“Walt Whitman is in a shelter-in-place due to an online threat to our school,” Administrator Jena Mejia wrote. “All staff and students are safe and instruction is continuing. MCPD is on-site supporting our efforts.”

After approximately an extra hour in their classes, students and staff were evacuated from the building to allow police to sweep the interior.

Administrators directed students to the end of the Whitman parking lots and instructed them not to leave campus. Students and staff waited approximately an hour outside before administrators informed the community that MCPD said it was safe to re-enter the building.  

Administrators released an updated schedule for the rest of the school day, which included a 50-minute lunch period and 20-minute class periods.

Sophomore Rachel Robin wasn’t concerned about the threat due to the recent increase in safety problems across Montgomery County.

“Me and my friends weren’t that phased since we just had a bomb threat a few weeks ago,” said Robin. “It’s sad that these serious incidents are normalized for students.”

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  • S

    Sreemati MukherjeeJun 7, 2024 at 3:09 pm

    Again a piece of intelligent and calm reporting of Breaking News by Rishith Alimchandani!

    But threats in a reputed high school is becoming the norm. This is so scary.

    Reply