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Mars School District to Increase Security After Bomb Threat

The high school was evacuated Monday after the district learned of the threat.

There will be increased security at Mars Area High School when students head back to class Tuesday after Monday's bomb scare.

The high school on Route 228 was evacuated Monday afternoon after the district learned of a bomb threat to the building.

“Upon notification of the threat, the district immediately contacted Adams Township Police Department and is taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff members,” Superintendent Dr. William Pettigrew said in a note to parents on the district's website.

All students were sent to Mars Area Middle School while police and district staff members conducted a sweep of the building. The high school students were dismissed at the end of the school day from the middle school, Pettigrew said.

With the exception of an away boys basketball game, all evening activities at the high school also were canceled Monday.

Josh Schwoebel, director of communications for Mars, said the threat was discovered at about 1:30 p.m. Following district procedure, the high school students were immediately shepherded from the building, he said.

Pettigrew said he was unable to discuss details of how the threat was discovered because it is still under investigation by police. He said this is the first bomb threat he could recall at the high school since 2003.

Traffic also was tied up Monday when police blocked off Route 228 as teachers escorted about 1,000 students from the high school to the middle school located across the road, Pettigrew said.

The students were placed in the school's gymnasium and common areas until school was dismissed.

Pettigrew said parents were notified of the situation by email and through the district's alert system once the students were safety inside the middle school.

"The first thing we did was concern ourselves with the safety of the students and all the employees," he said. "By the time we got that taken care of, we sent the notice. We were more concerned about making sure the students were safe."

Adams police worked with K9 units from Allegheny County to inspect the school and grounds, including vehicles in the high school parking lot, he said. The vehicles were released to their owners once they were checked over by the bomb-sniffing dogs.

Pettigrew said there would be increase in security at the high school when class resumes at its normal time Tuesday. An additional sweep of school also will take place prior to the start of school.

Check back with Cranberry Patch for updates to the story.

Was your child affected by the bomb threat? Were you tied up in the traffic? Are you glad the district is taking extra security precautions for Tuesday? Tell us in the comment section below.  

Emergency Denture Repair February 11, 2013 at 08:37 PM
My son is in the MiddleSchool, ready to attend the Highschool. This is very very scary!! The middle school was a mess, but small price to pay for the safty of even 1person, let alone a school full. I don't blve any injuries were mentioned. Id say it was handled well, for that!!
G February 11, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Would have been nice to be notified that my only children who both attend mars high were at another location. Still have not received any kind of notification from the school on the situation. This is a time when they should use the automated system that is in place instead of using it for a survey for the next superintendent.......just sayin
Christine fromlak February 11, 2013 at 09:21 PM
I did not receive any notification as to what was going on until my jr high son told me when he got home!!! We need a better notification system????
Thom Brazel February 11, 2013 at 10:02 PM
My son attends the middle school. He went at the end of the day to get his cell phone and it seemed a little chaotic...understandably. I don't understand why responsible kids can't keep their cell phones in their book bag, so long as they remain off unless there is an emergency. He was unable to reach us for a long time. I understand if kids would abuse the privilege by using it during school or cheating on exams - but they could easily be punished if they did so.
Mars_Man February 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM
I applaude the MASD for the quick response. Call the police and get the students to safety. I disagree with the previous comments about the notification system. Contacting every parent would have resulted in panic and choas. The police shut down part of 228, the last thing they would have needed were parents rushing to get their kids. I like the cell phone idea if they could keep it turned off and put away. The punishment would have to be severe if abused, maybe no bus for a week and the parents would have to drive the kid to and from school, that might do it..lol. BTW - I have 4 children at Mars, 3 at the high school.
Cranberri99 February 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Right on Mars Man. How many kids can resist cell phone in pocket or bag? Do you think parents or kids suffer much if they are punished though by not riding bus? How about taking the battery away for a week?

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