At least nine more schools have been forced to close or evacuate pupils due to bomb and gun violence threats. This comes one week after thousands of pupils from 28 schools were sent home or evacuated from schools on Monday, with a further 18 closed on Tuesday, across the United Kingdom and United States.
Pupils are currently sitting end-of-year examinations in state, public, and private schools throughout the UK. New threats claimed that gunmen were on school property or that bombs had been placed near children. 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.
The additional schools in the UK are:
- Brighton and Hove High School, East Sussex
- Stella Maris Primary School, Folkstone (reopened)
- Sandgate Primary School, Folkstone (reopened)
- Dame Janet Primary Academy, Kent
- Bower Grove School, Kent
- Ayresome Primary School, Middlesbrough
- Byker Primary School, Newcastle
- Thornhill School, Sunderland
- Highweek Primary School, Devon
- Welling School, Bexley, London (unconfirmed)
Stella Maris Primary School and Sandgate Primary School – both in Folkstone, have since reopened doors after the police declared the schools to be safe after receiving reports of gunmen. Two further Kent-based school, Dame Janet Primary Academy and Bower Grove School, were closed after anonymous callers issued bomb threats.
The exclusive girls-only Brighton and Hove High School was closed after a bomb threat, however, the situation has been resolved and students were allowed back to complete examinations.
“We were told to leave the room and they said it was a bomb threat and that the police were on their way. The whole school was out and the school was locked and gates were closed
“We are a small school so we were looked after and the staff were really good,” said one student from the school.
We're dealing with a bomb hoax and will provide more details shortly.
— Brighton & Hove High (@BHHSGDST) May 27, 2016
Sussex Police is carrying out an investigation into the incident and describe the threat as “malicious hoaxes.”
Brighton and Hove High School was evacuated following a telephone bomb threat on Friday morning (May 27).
Detective Sergeant James Meanwell from Sussex Police said: “The call shows similarities to a number of calls that were received at schools in Sussex and others in the UK this week.
“We are now investigating this incident as an elaborate hoax and are satisfied that there was no credible threat to the school.”
A statement issued by the school said: “All girls have now returned into the school buildings and our off timetable day will continue. A full message has been sent to all parents.”
Parents from Ayresome Primary School, Middlesbrough, were told to come and collect their children “as soon as possible” after a call claimed that a bomb was on school property. One parent claimed she “could not believe it.”
Mr. Naz Karim from Central Middlesbrough collected his nephews after receiving a text message from the school. “I work in Stoke but luckily just got back last night and my sister called me to ask me to pick up the boys because she was at work and their dad was working away,” said Mr. Karim.
“They seem fine, I’m happy they have got in touch with us straight away. As long as these guys are fine that’s all that matters to me. It is awful when it happens in your home town.
“You see it all over the world, but its different when it’s at home. I hope it is a hoax, but if it is it’s pretty low.”
Police from all areas involved are investigating the latest spate of threats and hoaxes. A spokeswoman from Cleveland Police said: “Police were called at around 10.50 AM this morning and informed of a threat made via a telephone call aimed at Ayresome Infant School on Parliament Road. This threat is being treated as a hoax.”