, Newburyport, MA

May 14, 2013

School evacuated after bomb threat

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — ROWLEY — Solstice School students returned to their classrooms yesterday, the morning after the Bowlery Drive building was evacuated once personnel there received an anonymous call stating there was a bomb in the basement.

Rowley police Lt. Joseph Gamache, in charge of the department’s detectives, said an adolescent male called the school Sunday at 8:16 p.m., declared he hated the school and mentioned the presence of a bomb.

“Then abruptly hung up,” Gamache said.

A handful of staff and four students, who live at the alternative high school, were evacuated from the building. Local police, along with a state police K-9 unit and Ipswich police, conducted a sweep of the building and found no evidence of a bomb. The private school, geared toward students in grades 7 to 12 has an enrollment of 35. Some of the students are in state custody, according to police.

By 10 p.m. staff and students were allowed into the building and classes resumed normally yesterday morning, according to Gamache.

Gamache said he met with school officials yesterday and his department is conducting an investigation into the bomb threat.

“Obviously, we are working on some angles,” Gamache said.

This marks the second bomb scare inside a Greater Newburyport school building since last month’s Boston Marathon bombing. In late April, Pentucket Regional Middle School students were shuttled to the next door high school after a threatening note was found inside a bathroom. Police and K-9 units found no evidence of a bomb there.

Gamache said police have seen an uptick in bomb threats since the April 15 bombing of the Boston Marathon, calling the threats a “copy-cat effect.”

“Obviously, this is very serious,” Gamache added.