Bristol bomb threats delaying students summer vacation - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bristol bomb threats delaying students summer vacation

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For the first time in more than a week on Friday, some Bristol students did not have to evacuate their school.

Within the last two weeks, police said there have been eight bomb threats, two of which happened Thursday.

Police said so far, three juveniles were arrested.

Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne said police also identified two more suspects and that more arrests would come soon. However, he was reluctant to say if this "rash" of threats was over.

The superintendent of schools told Eyewitness News that about 10 percent of the students didn't show up for class on Friday. She said in some cases students were sick.

"It was like a normal school day but you can tell everyone is annoyed," said April Gerhardt, a student.

April said that while it was a relief to finally have a day of uninterrupted school on Friday, students and staff were frustrated because their summer vacation was being delayed.

"The more bomb threats there are, we have more school," she said.

The latest threats happened at the Greene Hill School and Edgewood School. Students were forced into a neighboring baseball field while police investigated whether the threats were credible.

No one was hurt in either incident. However, parents said they were still nervous.

"I got two kids in high school and two grand kids in middle school and I'm just getting too scared to send them," said Brenda Lavertru, a parent.

A total of three girls, two of them only 10 years old, were arrested, according to police.

"They will be brought up to expulsion hearings and depending upon the circumstances and the arrests that have been made, that would certainly determine the action the school would take," said Superintendent Ellen Sole.

"I think those kids deserve it," said April. "I don't care how old those kids are, you don't make a bomb threat."

Cockayne said the investigation was ongoing.

"We've had two very strong leads and we're expecting an arrest to come from those shortly," he said.

They mayor's office offered students a $1,000 reward to help identify any additional suspects.

Meanwhile, the school district said it added staff inside the schools to monitor the halls. Bristol police also stepped up patrols.

"I'm hoping the students see we're not playing games," Cockayne said. "This is serious business."

Psychiartrist Dr. J Craig Allen believes several suspects are the work of copycats who are looking merely for attention.

"I think with the minority there is some serious malicious intent," Dr. Allen said.

Allen says the best thing parents can do to protect their child is to have a conversation about the dangers and what to do if they find a threat.

"Making it clear that this isn't acceptable. This is serious. Resources are being drained from fire and police," said Dr. Allen.

It's too early to tell how much these threats will cost the city, but finding the other suspects has been the top priority for investigators.

Police have not identified any of the suspects because they are minors.

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