TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Becky Killian / Editor
Corbin High School and the Corbin Area Technology Center were evacuated Wednesday after a bomb threat was found on a wall in a boys bathroom.
The threat was found about 10 a.m. by a staff member who reported it to school officials who, in turn, alerted police, according to Superintendent Ed McNeel and Hannah Goins, the district’s communications specialist. Within minutes, Corbin Police and Corbin Fire departments responded, as did Whitley County EMS.
About 850 students were safely evacuated about 10:30 a.m. in what they were told was a drill. As students left the high school, they walked beneath the school’s U.S. flag, which was flying at half staff to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They proceeded to the football field where they awaited bus transport to The Corbin Arena.
McNeel said they were being taken to the venue in order to get students out of the sun.
As students were being transported, a school nurse bearing students’ medications went to The Corbin Arena. Also, lunch had already been prepared at the school, so it was also transported to the venue for the students.
Shortly after the evacuation, parents and caregivers were notified of the evacuation by the district’s “Schoolcast” system, which sends alerts by text, email and phone.
At The Corbin Arena, dozens of parents and caregivers arrived to pick up their children. Before children were allowed to leave, officials confirmed the people picking them up had prior authorization to do so.
It wasn’t long before a long line formed along the sidewalk outside of the venue. Included among those waiting was Melissa Jung, 49, of Corbin, who was there to pick up her daughter.
Jung said her husband had called and told her about the bomb threat and the evacuation. Once at the venue, their daughter borrowed a friend’s cell phone and called Jung asking to be picked up.
Jung said the line was moving slowly, and some women were delayed when they arrived at the door only to be told they weren’t allowed to carry purses inside the building, so they had to return the bags to their cars.
Those in line also heard rumors a student had been injured inside the building, but school officials said later they had no reports of any injuries either at The Corbin Arena or during the evacuation.
Despite the confusion, Jung said she believed her daughter was safe.
“Since the kids are here, I have no concerns for safety,” Jung said.
Shortly after noon, Kentucky State Police Special Operations Unit Sgt. Jimmy Young and Williamsburg K-9 Officer Brandon Prewitt, along with their dogs, were searching the school for explosive devices. None were found and the building was cleared after 1 p.m.
After the building was deemed safe, Goins said students were transported back to the school, which dismissed early for the day. All after school activities were cancelled.
McNeel said while there are no video cameras in the school’s restrooms, there are cameras located outside the restroom where the threat was found. That video has been turned over to police to aid in their investigation.
“Anytime we have a threat, we do take it serious,” McNeel said, adding that student safety is a priority.
Corbin Police Public Affairs Officer Major Rob Jones said his agency is investigating the threat, though he declined to provide further details since juveniles are involved.
The Kentucky State Police also were at the scene.