Lumberton Primary School’s teachers, staff, and students were evacuated on Thursday morning due to a bomb threat.
“They were immediately evacuated and moved over to the Middle School after the call,” Superintendent Gerald Chandler told the Lumberton ISD.
The threat was thought to be diversion created by suspects being pursued by the police and intended to draw resources away from the search.
As a precaution, the superintendent said they determined it was safest to move the students to the nearby Lumberton Middle School campus after contacting authorities.
The passage from one campus to another took 20 minutes to complete.
“It was flawless,” Chandler said speaking of the transition.
Organizers also moved the parent-student check out and pick-up to the Middle School.
Chandler praised the National Incident Management System (NIMS) training practiced by the ISD as paying off to facilitate a smooth response in a stressful situation.
Lumberton Police and Fire departments swept the Primary School for threatening material, and none was found.
Only after the search was completed were teachers and staff allowed to return.
Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins said that the “Primary School received a call from a restricted number” around 9:55 a.m., on Jan. 10.
The call sounded suspicious with someone “hollering about how they were going to blow up the Primary School,” stated the chief.
It was a ploy designed “to get us off the task that we were on, but we still took it very seriously,” he said.
Local police and regional law enforcement were tracking a suspect from the Beaumont AT&T burglary.
In attempting to evade capture, one suspect drove off Hwy 69 just south of Lumberton before running into the thicket.
At the time of the bomb threat, officers had been searching the wooded area since the early morning hours.
By afternoon, Chandler issued a thank you to ISD employees, the Lumberton Fire Department, and the Lumberton Police Department for their response.
“I would like to thank the parents for your coordinated efforts with the release of your child. Our job is to ensure your child is safe, and I feel our efforts proved this today. We hope we never have to do this again; however, we are here to protect you child and continue to ensure we have the best procedures in place for this,” he wrote.