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Threat forces evacuation of Alton High

(MCT) GODFREY — A handwritten threat found on a restroom wall Tuesday prompted the evacuation of Alton High School, but students were allowed to return to the building after a search.

A news release from the Madison County Sheriff's Department said its School Resource Officer assigned to AHS was informed by the faculty about 1:20 p.m. that "a written message of a threatening nature" had been located inside the school. School administrators were notified, and the school was evacuated about 1:25 p.m.

A recorded telephone call from school officials that went out to students' homes informed parents that the threat had been found on a restroom wall.

Deputies searched the school and determined it be safe, the release said. After about 35 minutes, students were allowed to re-enter the school, and classes resumed.

Alton School District officials said the threat suggested a bomb had been planted in the school. After an investigation, authorities determined the students were not at risk, Assistant Superintendent Kristi Baumgartner said.

"The threat was cleared after about 35 minutes," she said. "Students returned to class for a regular dismissal."

Students were evacuated to a number of locations, including the adjacent church, the surrounding grounds and onto buses called to shelter them from the cold.

"We brought buses for students waiting outside in T-shirts and P.E. clothes, so they could be warm," Baumgartner explained.

Once officials determined there was no threat, students re-entered the building through the gym, being asked to wait there for a few minutes prior to returning to their classrooms.

"No one is being questioned at this time," Baumgartner said. "No arrests have been made."

Investigators from the Sheriff's Department are continuing to investigate the incident in an attempt to locate the person who left the message.

Capt. Mike Dixon of the Sheriff's Department said investigators would not release the exact wording of the threat so as to be able to measure the credibility of anyone who claims to know who made it. He asked anyone with information about the threat to contact school administrators or the Sheriff's Department.


©2012 The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.)

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