Wissahickon’s sixth through 12th grades go 100% virtual for day due to bomb threat

Police received a call of a bomb threat against Wissahickon High School (possibly the middle school). In response, the students at both schools had a 100% virtual instruction day while the threat was investigated. The investigation determined that it was a hoax.

Below is the text of two emails sent to parents from the Wissahickon School District about the situation:

Dear Wissahickon School Community,

This morning, police dispatch received a telephone call from a person who indicated a bomb was present at Wissahickon High School.  Shortly after 8:00am, additional information made it unclear if the threat was being made towards WHS or Wissahickon Middle School (so we are treating it as both).  We are almost positive this is a hoax (per information from law enforcement officials), but “almost positive” is not good enough, so out of an abundance of caution, we decided on a 100% virtual teaching & learning day today for Grades 6-12.

Police are investigating, and are coordinating with county bomb squad units and the FBI.  What we know is calls exactly like this are being received by school districts across the country, demanding a ransom.  While none of those calls have resulted in any bombs actually being present, the subject matter is obviously important enough to take seriously in every case, including here.

We will forward along any additional information as soon we get it.

Jim Crisfield, Superintendent

And the follow-up email stating it was determined to be a hoax.

Dear Wissahickon School Community,

As an update to our previous communication this morning regarding a bomb threat at WHS and Middle School, I can report that law enforcement has concluded a thorough search of the WHS and Middle School grounds (as well as the adjacent water tower property), using both K9 and drone teams.  Nothing was found.

This was a hoax with several characteristics that matched, exactly, those found in similar threats to schools across the country.  Using this and other information, law enforcement was able to determine early on that the threat was likely not credible, and in any case did not extend beyond a small radius around these two schools.  This in turn helped narrow and expedite the search and limit the disruption to our district (e.g., at no time was Lower Gwynedd Elementary School, down the road, considered to be in any danger).  Needless to say, we will continue to cooperate fully with local and national law enforcement authorities to do what can be done to catch the perpetrator.  Bomb threats are very serious, and they will not be tolerated.

I would like to publicly thank our staff, students and families for their flexibility and understanding today.  I would also like to thank the members of the Lower Gwynedd Police Department who helped us navigate this threat—our partnership remains invaluable.

Jim Crisfield, Superintendent