Glendale — A bomb scare, later discovered to be a false alarm, caused an emergency evacuation of Nicolet High School on Oct. 16, after which classes were canceled for the day.
School officials said that a "vague" note, perceived as threatening, was found and prompted a schoolwide lockdown, during which teachers were told to continue classroom activities while police searched the building.
A bomb squad sweep of the high school turned up two suspicious packages — one in a first-floor boys bathroom and a second on the second-floor "F-wing" of the building — prompting school staff to evacuate Nicolet's roughly 1,100 students.
The students walked to nearby Cardinal Stritch University, from where they were bused to Glen Hills Middle School and waited in a gymnasium and several classrooms. Parents flocked to the middle school to pick up their children for the day.
Though police wouldn't say exactly what was in the packages, Captain Mark Ferguson of the Glendale Police Department described the contents as "non-hazardous, everyday items."
"Anytime you have a note like that, and you find something that's not supposed to be there, we consider that suspicious until we can determine whether or not it's a danger," said Ferguson.
The next day, Glendale police said that a 16-year-old Nicolet student was arrested and referred to juvenile authorities on a federal bomb threat charge. The student is believed to have written the note that precipitated the lockdown and eventual evacuation.
Speaking during a School Board debriefing, Superintendent Robert Kobylski said he was impressed by the speed and organization of the evacuation.
"When it was all said and done, I was very proud of the students and staff," Kobylski said.
He added that most parent feedback was positive, though about 20 to 30 parents reported frustration with the amount of time it took to retrieve their children from the middle school.
"The problem we had was that we had 1,100 kids to distribute, and everybody wanted to be first," Kobylski said.
High school Principal Greg Kabara commented that the bomb scare "was handled very well by our student body."
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