Honolulu police are investigating after bomb threats were called in to about a dozen Oahu schools Thursday afternoon.
The calls started shortly after 2 p.m. and many of them came within a 30-minute period, officials said. The campuses were evacuated as police responded.
KHON2 has confirmed the following schools received threats:
- Kaimuki High
- Washington Middle
- Radford High
- Moanalua High
- Farrington High
- Assets School (nearby Nimitz Elementary was also evacuated as a result)
- Maryknoll High School
- Kalani High
Officers didn’t find any bombs, and all schools were given the all-clear.
But the Honolulu Police Department says it takes these threats seriously, and whenever a threat is made, officers have to respond.
“Especially when it involves young kids at school or anywhere, even false prank calls require police response and this took away from 911 emergency calls,” said Marie McCauley, Honolulu Police Department deputy chief. “On occasion, it’s been students trying to get out of a test, but I don’t think they realize the seriousness of using 911 as a prank. Because like I said, it diverts officers into a different direction and they’re already doing their best to get to all 911 calls as quickly and as safely as possible.”
HPD has opened terrorist threatening cases for each of the schools that received threats. If someone is caught, he or she can face a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison.
“We’re trying to look at the phone number that the call came from. We’re also asking for the public’s help, and if they know anything, they can call 911 and give us the information and we can follow up,” McCauley said.
Maryknoll School said its high school campus received a threat at approximately 2:05 p.m. Students were immediately evacuated to the community center at its grade school campus. Officials were given the all-clear by HPD at around 2:45 p.m.
While many schools already finished classes for the day, Maryknoll said its high school remains in session until 2:45 p.m.
An internal investigation is underway, a school spokesman said. Roughly 500 students attend Maryknoll’s high school.
According to Farrington High School’s principal, Alfredo ‘Al’ Carganilla, a bomb threat was called into the office at 2:04 p.m. Class had been dismissed just minutes earlier, so staff proceeded to direct students off campus.
Carganilla said the school’s safety committee had already been planning its annual school-wide evacuation, and Thursday’s evacuation followed all proper procedures.
An Assets School official said the school’s evacuation occurred at 2:30 p.m. and an all-clear was given at 3:50 p.m.
DOE spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz released the following statement:
All threats to our schools are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. The Hawaii State Department of Education provides guidelines to schools for responding to bomb threats, which include notifying police and taking appropriate steps to secure the campus.
Six Oahu public schools received threatening phone calls around 2:00pm today that indicated a bomb was on campus. They were: Radford High, Moanalua High, Kaimuki High, Farrington High, Kalani High and Washington Middle.
Five of the schools had already let the students out for the day when they received the call. Kaimuki High was the only school still in session and the principal initiated a school evacuation until the campus was deemed safe.
Questions regarding “punishment” should be directed to police.