Updated: Walter Johnson High School Students Return to Class After Bomb Threat

Winston Churchill High also received threat this morning, but police determined both schools are safe


Published:

Walter Johnson students were evacuated to the stadium.

Jonathan Meyers

Updated at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday: Students at Walter Johnson High School have returned to class after Montgomery County police determined the school to be safe after a bomb threat this morning, according to school officials.

Walter Johnson was one of two Montgomery County high schools to receive bomb threats Wednesday morning. Police have also deemed Winston Churchill High School to be safe after it was evacuated earlier in the morning.

School officials told Walter Johnson students to evacuate after police received a report at 10:52 a.m., Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, said. Students were cleared to return to classes at noon, according to Gboyinde Onijala, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County Public Schools.

The threat was unsubstantiated, according to Walter Johnson Principal Jennifer Baker. In an email she wrote to the school community at 11:26 a.m., she said police are checking the building and students have been released to lunch and told to come back to the stadium at noon.

At Winston Churchill, someone had called the school after 6 a.m. and said there was a bomb in the building, MCPS spokesman Derek Turner said.

Students returned to class at Winston Churchill High School at about 8:10 a.m. Wednesday morning after Montgomery County police searched the Potomac school and found nothing, according to school officials.

Students sit on the bleachers at Winston Churchill High School after being evacuated because of a bomb threat. Via Zac Trone

Police and fire marshals remained at the school, Turner said. Students were evacuated to the school's football field after the threat was received, according to Principal Joan Benz said.

“We’re just seeing a lot of people making threats and calls, none of them being really credible so far,” he said. “But we expect to see more of this in the coming days, people taking advantage of people’s fears.”

Innocenti said officers responded to Churchill with bomb-sniffing dogs and nothing was found. Police are still investigating who made the call and the nature of the threat.

While many students milled about the bleachers while police swept the building, some were picked up by their parents, according to one parent whose son attends the school.

The threat was one of several that local schools have received since a former student fatally shot 17 people last week at a high school in Parkland, Florida. It came just hours before students at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring and Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville planned to walk out of class at 9:30 Wednesday and head to the U.S. Capitol to rally in favor of legislative action on gun violence.

Montgomery County police responded to about a dozen threats to schools last Friday.

This story will be updated.

Andrew Metcalf contributed to this report.

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