| Apr 07, 2005


Feature article,April 7, 2005

Feature article April 7, 2005

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Bomb scare forces the evacuation of Sydenham High School

by Jeff Green

Just before 10:00 am on Monday morning, an officer with the Frontenac detachment of the OPP phoned Sydenham High School to say they had received a phone call that there was a bomb at the school and that they were sending a team of officers to investigate.

Even though everybody believed it was a crank call, we immediately emptied the building, recalls Sydenham High Principal Bruce Marchen.

The call, which did indeed turn out to be a crank call, originated from a pay phone within the school.

As the OPP investigated, Marchen soon realised the weather, it was cold and rainy, was not conducive to students standing around outside, especially since everyone had left the school in a hurry and many of them werent wearing jackets. Some were in their gym gear.

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Our backup location is Loughborough Public School across the street, said Marchen. But after a short while the 1,000 plus school population (900 students plus over 100 faculty and staff) began to feel cramped in the gym and hallways of Loughborough PS.

At 11:10 the OPP informed me it would be another 2 hours before they would be finished in the school. They were still waiting for a sniffer dog to be brought in from Belleville at that point, and we realized we needed to send the kids home.

The board supervisor was called, as were bus drivers, and arrangements were made for the students to go home.

There were a few issues around students who didnt have keys to their homes on them, and there were a few inconveniences, but the kids got home, said Marchen.

The last bus left the school at 12:20 pm.

On Tuesday, there was an assembly in the school in the morning, and a letter was sent home to parents explaining what had happened.

I would like to point out how impressed I was with how the students all reacted to the situation. There was never any panic, and the students showed a lot of maturity. Our students are not happy about this. They come here to learn, and they lost a day, Marchen said.

The investigation into who made the phone call continues.

Were following up some leads, Principal Marchen said.

The News was unable to reach the investigating officer on Tuesday. We will attempt to do so in the next week.

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