WILTON — A man with slurred speech called in bomb threats to Academy Hill School and Cushing School on Thursday morning, forcing school officials to bus students to alternate sites, police said.

The roughly 360 students at the two schools were evacuated safely by about 10 a.m. and bused to two other schools in Farmington, according to Leanne Condon, a school district administrator.

The two schools in Wilton, with students in grades pre-kindergarten to sixth, each received a threat by telephone about 9:20 a.m. Officials at both schools described the caller who made the threats as a man with slurred speech, Wilton police Chief Heidi Wilcox said in a release.

Area police and fire departments responded and an ambulance was on standby in the area, Wilcox said. Maine State Police searched the two school buildings with bomb detection dogs and found no suspicious devices, clearing them to reopen, she stated.

This is the first threat at a Mt. Blue Regional School District 9 school since three bomb threats within a few weeks last year at the district’s high school in Farmington disrupted classes.

Andrew Coscia, 18, of Farmington, was expelled from the high school and faces a felony criminal charge in connection with one of the prank bomb threats made there on Dec. 9. He has been out of jail on personal recognizance and his next court date is April 20, court records show.

On Thursday morning, the 161 students at Cushing School in grades pre-kindergarten to second were bused to W.G. Mallett School. The 205 students at Academy Hill School were bused to Cascade Brook School, Condon said.

Some parents picked up students early on Thursday but a majority of the displaced students were expected to be taken home on buses at the normal dismissal times, Condon said around noon.

The school district released statements about the bomb threats to the media Thursday morning, Condon said. She added parents are not called directly but information about the situation would be posted on the school district’s website.

Students displaced by threats typically spend the day in other school’s cafeterias and gymnasiums, where teachers use portable lesson kits to provide lessons despite the obvious disruption to classes, Condon said.

“Teachers bring emergency kits to give (students) some instruction for the day,” she said.

Regular classes will resume today at the two Wilton schools, according to Superintendent Michael Cormier.

The threats hitting the school district have triggered mandatory emergency measures that spend extra town money, Cormier said. He didn’t know the emergency response costs for the previous threats.

Because of the bomb threat on Dec. 9, the 737 students at the high school had to evacuated and bused to alternate sites.

Making a bomb threat is a felony when it causes the evacuation of a building. That level of a terrorizing charge is punishable by up to five years in prison along with fines, depending on the circumstances of the crime.

The threats on Thursday are being investigated by Sgt. Richard Billian Jr. and Officer Billie Martin, both of the Wilton Police Department. Wilcox did not return a call seeking more details about the threats.

David F. Robinson – 861-9287

[email protected]

 


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