In his 46 years at Bishop Hendricken High School, school President John Jackson can’t recall there being a bomb threat, but then there are even firsts for Hendricken.
At about 6:10 a.m. Wednesday, according to a release issued by Warwick Police, an employee found a note near the cafeteria describing the threat as well as a nearby backpack. The school called Warwick Police who cleared the school and set up a perimeter.
Jackson said “out of an abundance of caution” he initiated an “all call” to parents informing them that school would be canceled. Calls were made to the bus company, and those students who had already boarded were returned to their pickups, Jackson said.
Members of the RI State Fire Marshal’s office and State Police were contacted and responded to the school. Members of the State Fire Marshal’s office investigated and then declared the backpack safe. An extensive search was then conducted throughout the building utilizing police officers and explosive recognition K-9’s. Officers and K-9’s did not locate any further threats during their search, according to Warwick Police.
Jackson said a robot used for the removal of possible explosives was on the scene. However, he questioned whether it was used as he saw an officer carrying the backpack. Jackson read the note but did not disclose specifics. He believes the backpack was not part of the threat and had been left there “by some kid.”
Detectives are reviewing camera footage of the school. The investigation continues and police have urged those with any information to call 468-4200.
Jackson said the school was cleared in time for last night’s final dress rehearsal of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” that opens tonight.
Jackson, who was feted at a retirement party Saturday at the Warwick Country Club, offered only one bit of speculation on the reason for the bomb threat.
“They’re trying to make it exciting for me before I retire,” he said.