Wilbur Cross High School students poured out of the building out into the cold again Monday thanks to another bomb threat—but this time police tracked down the young man they believe called it in.
The call was a hoax, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman.
It was the third time since the start of 2014 that someone called in a fake threat, causing officials to clear the school around 9:20 a.m.. Students were transported to nearby Hooker and East Rock schools while police made sure the building was safe. They returned about 90 minutes later.
Cross has about 1,350 students.
“The students behaved beautifully. The schools that received us that were great. We were back in the building with no issues,” said Cross Principal Edith Johnson.
The call, a threat to blow up the school, came in at 9:10 a.m.
Police tried to track down the source of previous calls, with no ultimate success.
This time, the trail led them to an 18-year-old Cross junior. After police took him into custody, he admitted to calling in Monday’s threat as well as the most recent other one, according to chief of detectives Sgt. Al Vazquez. The student did not cop to the first one. Police traced the call to a phone inside the school building, Vazquez said. Sgts. Al McFadden and Manmeet Colon, Detective Curtis Miller, and Officers Victor Fuentes and Miguel Aponte worked the case.
Hartman said the arrestee “fought with” officers after they detained him. Police charged him with “breach of peace in the second degree, falsely reporting an incident and misuse of a 911 call,” as well as interfering with police, according to Hartman.
Schools spokesman Abbe Smith said officials sent out a “parent link” phone message about the evacuation as well as a subsequent message when the students returned.
Hartman was asked how officials determine whether or not to evacuate a school upon receiving a phoned threat.
“In this day and age with actually perpetrated school violence at the rate it exists across the world, you can’t make judgment calls on whether someone’s being truthful or not. You’ve got to clear the school,” he said. “Not evacuating is not an option.”
Added Abbe Smith, about the same question: “We work closely with the police department in all of these cases. The decision to evacuate is always rooted in ensuring student safety. However, we also work closely with police to investigate the cases and find who is responsible. We will not tolerate threats to student safety or disruptions of classroom learning.”