SULLIVAN — An 18-year-old was arrested Friday in the bomb threat that caused all three public schools in Sullivan to dismiss early and evacuate students, police said.
In a statement, the Sullivan Police Department said officers were contacted at 11:23 a.m. after a school staff member found a sticky note on a bathroom mirror that said a bomb would go off at 1:30 p.m. Superintendent Ted Walk said in a statement that the district couldn't immediately determine the credibility of the threat and was not willing to take chances, so all buildings were evacuated.
High school and middle school students were dismissed at 1:15 p.m. and elementary students at 1:25 p.m. Middle and high school students waited at the Sullivan American Legion for parents to pick them up, while elementary students went to the Sullivan Civic Center. Other students took the bus home as usual.
Law enforcement and school administration searched the building and grounds, Walk said, and found no evidence of a bomb.
Police said the 18-year-old was in custody on a preliminary charge of making a terrorist threat. Preliminary charges are subject to review by the state's attorney's office.
In addition to police and the school district staff, the Moultrie County Sheriff's Office, Sullivan Fire District and several Sullivan city employees helped move the students out of the schools.
The police department praised the school district for its professional, compassionate response. "The care they gave the students was outstanding," police said, adding that everyone with a child in the district "should know their child is very safe and cared for."
Walk praised the first responders, teachers and staff, parents and community for pulling together a smooth, quick response. He said the district will continue to review emergency procedures, and counseling will be available to any student who desires when students come back after Spring Break on Tuesday, April 3.
"The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority," he said.