Sometimes the bomb is real.
During my freshman year of high school (1991, so this is well before Columbine), some guy actually did set off a pipe bomb in one of the third floor boys’ toilets. Luckily, there was no one on or near the toilet at the time :eek:. It was a fairly big bomb, and it blew the toilet apart. (Someone was seen walking out of the bathroom just as it went off…of course, he was the first suspect, but it turns out that he was just damn lucky.)
Strangely, there was no bomb threat phoned in. There was just a sudden explosion. Since the chemistry labs are on that floor, some thought that there was a chem experiment gone awry.
I had the misfortune of being in P.E. class at the time. I don’t remember hearing anything (the gym was in a separate wing of the building), but I did hear the fire alarm that someone pulled in order to evacuate the building, so we headed outside. Our P.E. teacher, in all his infinite wisdom, decided to shout, “Hey, where are you guys going? There’s no fire drill scheduled for today! Get back in here!” Yes, it did not occur to him that there might be a real fire (or other reason to evacuate the building). Other teachers must have had the same attitude, since the principal actually had to get on the intercom and say, “Leave the building immediately!” That should not be necessary, IMO.
In retrospect, I wish they had let us get a few treasured belongings before they evacuated us…like, perhaps our clothes. It was May, I believe, but quite chilly for gym shorts. When they decided to send us all home, I had no house keys (they were in my gym locker, of course), so I had to go home with a friend.
It was apparent that our school was not prepared for such an emergency. (They knew what to do for a bomb threat, but a real bomb stymied them.) Did they prepare after that? Of course not. (They eventually caught the perp, after all, so then we were safe, right?) Three years later, someone lit a toilet paper dispenser on fire (second floor boys room that time), and several teachers stuck their heads out of their doors and watched the hallway fill with acrid smoke before one teacher several doors away finally had the sense to pull the fire alarm! (And, the P.E. teacher probably still said, “Get back here!”)
I would guess that most school bomb threats are just kids looking for attention or to get out of school (it’s the modern equivalent of pulling the fire alarm, IMO.) These should be dealt with seriously, but with as little fanfare as possible. There probably won’t be much of an outward response to avoid drawing attention to the event. After all, the phenomenon spread after Columbine when kids started hearing about it happening at other schools.
You should ask, though, if your daughter’s school has a good plan in place to deal with real emergencies such as bombs, fires, and school shootings. There should be at least some sort of guidelines for the administration and faculty to follow as to when to evacuate the building, how to evacuate, and a reminder to treat every fire alarm seriously.
Of course, the real problem is disgruntled students. What are schools doing about that?