Philip Barbour High School evacuated

PHILIPPI – A bomb threat at Philip Barbour High School Friday prompted the evacuation of students.

According to Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters, local police agencies responded to a bomb threat at the high school at 2 p.m. Friday. K-9 search units from Morgantown were brought in to search the building, he said.

The main school facility was declared clear at 4:20 p.m. by police officials, Superintendent Dr. Joe Super said, adding that the career technical center behind the school was still being searched at that time. No devices were found inside the school facility, Super said.

“I appreciate all the collaboration with the law enforcement, administration of the school and our teachers for assisting us with visual help of the building,” Super said. “And of course, the K-9 units that were there.”

The Philippi Police Department, the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department, the West Virginia State Police’s Philippi detachment and the Barbour County Board of Education administration all responded to the threat which is still being investigated.

Students were released to go home at 3 p.m., Walters said.

“Because of the time, they’ve already been dismissed for the day,” Walters said. “We had to wait approximately an hour (after the evacuation), and then they were dismissed. However, the students that drove had to leave their cars here.”

Walters said all students were evacuated by school bus and the parking areas were included in the police search.

When asked if the bomb threat was of a serious nature, Walters said that all threats are taken seriously.

“We take them (threats) all seriously, but I’m not going to comment any further on that,” Walters said.

Barbour County schools had already experienced four bomb threats this school year.

A bomb threat on Sept. 4 caused Philip Barbour High School to be put on lockdown. A separate threat on Sept. 24 – one which was not officially identified as a bomb threat – prompted the evacuation of students at PBHS. The threats are not believed to be related.

A juvenile male Philippi Middle School student was charged with terroristic threats following a bomb threat at the school on Oct. 8, officials said.

Philip Barbour High School was put on lockdown Jan. 9 after school officials learned about a threat.