By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter
Authorities are currently awaiting the assistance of a bomb squad and bomb-detection dogs to comb Graham High School for explosives after a handwritten bomb threat was found by a student earlier today, according to Okfuskee County Sheriff Jim Rasmussen.
“Basically, a student found a message written on the wall of the bathroom threatening to ‘blow up the school tomorrow,’” the sheriff said. “Since we do not know exactly when it was written, ‘tomorrow’ could be today.”
Rasmussen said the students of the rural high school have all been evacuated and taken to the Dustin campus for pickup.
A Dustin-Graham staff member, asking to be unnamed, told the News Leader just after lunch Thursday no comment could be made, noting her supervisors were all “really busy” in the wake of the situation.
Rasmussen explained the bathroom had been cleaned around 2:30 p.m. yesterday and the message was reportedly not there.
“We don’t know who wrote the message (threatening to blow up the school),” he said. “It was written sometime after (the cleaning of the bathroom), but we don’t know if it was yesterday or today, so we don’t know if the ‘tomorrow’ in the message is today or (if it was written today) tomorrow.”
He also noted a game with Wetumka had been held at the high school at the end of the day yesterday, Wednesday, January, 23.
A little before 1 p.m. Thursday, Rasmussen said he and his squad were awaiting a team of bomb detection dogs to go through the school and check it for explosives.
“Hopefully, this is just a kid being stupid and there’s not a bomb in the school,” the sheriff said. “Otherwise, obviously, it’s a real waste of manpower and resources … lunch was already ready to eat, so it’s sitting there going bad now, and the kids missed their lunch.”
“The students all had to be bused to another school, and (if there is no actual threat of a bomb in the school) it’s a big waste of time and money for the school and law enforcement.”
More information will follow as it is made available.
Looking to tomorrow, the sheriff said, “We plan to have school tomorrow,” adding, “Deputies will be on hand in the morning with all the students to make sure nothing comes in.”
Graham-Dustin Public Schools is a combined school district in Okfuskee and Hughes Counties, near the county lines, just south of Henryetta and east of Weleetka. The administration office and Graham High School are within Okfuskee County, while Dustin Elementary is contained within Hughes County.