An anonymous male caller threatening to “blow this thing up” was enough to lockdown and evacuate Maricopa High School Wednesday morning. The school was searched, but nothing suspicious was found.
“The Maricopa Police Department did an excellent job of searching the school and making sure there was no substance to the threat,” Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Steve Chestnut said.
The call came into the reception desk at the high school around 9 a.m., according to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado. School Resource Officer Chris Evans notified MPD, which met with MUSD officials.
Following protocol, administrators locked down the campus and discussed with MPD the best place to take the students.
“When we arrived on scene we met with MUSD personnel from the district office and [high school] administration,” Alvarado said. “They determined that the safest course of action would be to evacuate the school. An area was located for us to evacuate, and we did a protective sweep to make sure that area was safe and secure for students to be moved.”
At around 11 a.m. students were taken to the football field. At noon, the lockdown ended, and the school resumed its normal schedule. However, hundreds of parents waited in the parking lot during the situation, with many electing to take their children home.
Several parents questioned why they were not notified about the situation until after 10 a.m. They were also concerned that “first lunch” was skipped and the evacuation continued into “second lunch.”
“Students began eating lunch at noon as soon as the police gave the all clear,” MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut said. “If the lockdown had lasted much longer we would have begun evacuating all students to a relocation center.”