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Thousands of children evacuated from schools in the UK and US after bomb threats

Barming Primary School, Maidstone
  • Bomb threats made against schools in the United Kingdom and United States.
  • At least 27 schools closed in the UK across four counties.
  • Thousands of school children evacuated and schools closed.

Bomb threats were made to dozens of schools in the United Kingdom and United States. Threats first forced at least 27 schools to be closed in the UK. Closures took place from Kent to Newcastle following a series of anonymous phone calls and within hours, similar threats were being made to schools in multiple states across US. Thousands of students have been evacuated in both countries.

At one school in Britain, “repeated” phone calls warned of an on-site bomb that “will take children’s heads off,” whilst other schools were additionally threatened with gun violence. In the United States, schools in New England, New York, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts have been evacuated or closed.

Barming Primary School, Maidstone
Barming Primary School, Maidstone

In many cases, the source of the calls is believed to be from so-called “robo-calls;” automated calls from near-untraceable Internet-based VOIP services. It is unclear whether or not the threats in the UK and US are connected. Schools closed in the UK include (not a full list):

  • Canterbury Academy, Kent
  • Barming Primary School, Maidstone
  • Voyager Academy, Peterborough
  • Discover Primary School, Peterborough
  • Wootton Upper School, Bedfordshire
  • Redwood School, Rochdale
  • Emsworth Primary School, Hampshire
  • Kingsham Primary School, Chichester
  • Whiteley Primary School, Fareham
  • Rosebrook Primary School, Stockton
  • Cranmere Primary School, Surrey
  • Mayfield Primary School, Cambridge
  • Blacon High School, Cheshire
  • Crabtree Farm Primary School, Nottingham
  • Lindisfarne Middle School, Northumberland
  • Charville Primary School, Middlesex
  • Dafen Community Primary School, Llanelli
  • Pinhoe Primary School, Essex
  • Maldon Primary School, Essex
  • Barnwell School, Stevenage
  • Charlestown Primary School, Cornwall
  • Middleton Primary School, Leeds
  • Ringmer Primary School, East Sussex
  • Caversham Primary School, Reading
  • Down Hall Primary School, Rayleigh, Essex
  • Devonport High School for Girls, Plymouth

A letter was sent to parents of pupils of Downhall Primary school in Rayleigh, Essex, one of the schools evacuated as a precaution.

Downhall Primary School Letter

The first report of a bomb was at Canterbury High School. All pupils were immediately evacuated, including 241 pupils currently sitting a GCSE English examination. Students were sent to a tennis hall while pupils not taking exams were sent home. Phil Karnavas, the head teacher of the school, said a secretary received “repeated” phone calls from an adult male with an “American accent.”

“The exact words, I believe, were “bomb on site, shrapnel will take children’s heads off,” Karnavas said. The head decided to clear the buildings and called in police. “It’s almost certainly a hoax but with what’s happening across Europe I’m not prepared to take that gamble.”

Local police have confirmed that an anonymous call was made at 10:13 AM and that the school was evacuated as a precaution. “Police were called to Canterbury High School at 10.13am on Monday 23 May after an anonymous phone call was made to the school. The school has been evacuated as a precaution and officers are at the scene,” a Kent Police spokesmen said in a statement.

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