Bomb scare at JCCHS
WAITING FOR WORD
Parents waited in the rain Wednesday morning for word on the bomb scare at Jackson County Comprehensive High School. All students and teachers were evacuated from the building after a freshman brought a bomb into the school.
Local law enforcement and GBI officers gathered at the front of Jackson County Comprehenisve High School in response to the bomb threat.
Student with bomb at school surrenders
A 15-year-old student who had a live bomb strapped to his body surrendered to authorities at Jackson County Comprehensive High School in Jefferson Wednesday morning after a tense two-hour standoff.
The student yielded the device and was taken into custody at about 10:30 a.m. after meeting face-to-face with several law enforcement officials, including Jackson County Sheriff Stan Evans and Arcade Police Chief Dennis Bell.
The boy was taken to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for debriefing and would reportedly be taken for a psychological exam after that.
After the boy’s surrender, authorities used a bomb squad robot to remove the explosive device and detonate it outside the school building. Bomb dogs were also brought into the school to clear it for any other possible devices. Later Wednesday, authorities were searching a house in Pendergrass related to the incident.
According to Jackson County School Superintendent Shannon Adams, the boy’s actions had nothing to do with problems at the school. Law officials confirmed that the boy was upset over issues unrelated to the school.
Adams said the JCCHS freshman went to the school’s front office soon after arriving on campus at about 8:25 a.m. and told a secretary, a receptionist and another student that he had a bomb strapped to his body. The device was reportedly attached to his belt and he also had a knife on his belt.
The three were soon allowed to leave the office and several law officers were allowed in to talk with the boy. According to Bell, the boy was “agitated” early in the process.
“His demeanor was confused at the beginning when we first went in,” Bell said. “He was agitated when we first got in there… We started talking and got him settled down.”
About an hour after the incident began, a large gathering of law officials standing at the front of the school moved far back from the building. The crowd could be seen by the student through windows and reportedly was cause for agitation.
At the end of the incident, the boy reportedly turned over the explosives belt and a suspicious bookbag to Evans.
Officials immediately evacuated the school when the incident began, with some students routed across the parking area to the ag barn on the north side of the campus and others sent to the auditorium on the south side. The evacuation took place in a moderate rain as showers moved across the area.
At about 9:30 a.m., a fleet of school busses was used to take some 1,300 students to the Jefferson Civic Center across town. Another 300 students were already off the main campus at the school’s Gordon Street Center, where they remained.
The evacuation appeared to be smooth and students were calm as they boarded busses to be taken off-campus. Around 3 p.m., students were released and were bused home.
In the meantime, city officials attempted to cope with a massive traffic jam in Jefferson as parents rushed to pick up their children at the civic center. Food was reportedly brought into the building about noon for students and teachers.
Authorities were also interviewing each student and parent before they were allowed to leave the civic center, a process which slowed the release of students from the facility.
A number of law enforcement officials responded to the scene at the school, including dozens of local law officers, firemen and emergency workers. In addition, a variety of state and federal officials were on the scene, including the GBI, FBI and ATF. Special bomb units and mobile command centers were also brought in, including units from UGA and Hall County.
Parents and their children shared grateful hugs after Jackson County Comprehensive High School was evacuated for a bomb scare.
Photo by April Reese Sorrow