PBHS evacuated after threat

PHILIPPI – Philip Barbour High School was evacuated and searched Wednesday after a threat was discovered at the school, officials said,

“A threat was identified at the school, the students were evacuated safely and, according to policy, to another location,” Dr. Joe Super, the Barbour County superintendent of schools, told The Inter-Mountain Wednesday afternoon.

“The students were fed lunch and, after a thorough search, the students were returned to the school,” he said, noting the students were taken to an undisclosed location for safety and to allow for the search.

Super said the incident began about 11 a.m. and all of the students were back in school by 2:30 p.m. He declined to provide any further details about the incident.

The Philippi Police Department is in charge of the investigation. The Barbour County Sheriff’s Department and Philippi detachment of the West Virginia State Police also assisted at the scene.

Barbour education officials and parents of students may well be weary of bomb threats and similar incidents in the county’s schools. Although Wednesday’s was the first incident this school year – which began three weeks ago – Barbour schools experienced a rash of threats in the 2013-14 school year.

In one incident last year, nine schools in Barbour County were evacuated after a handwritten threat was found in one of the schools. Philippi Elementary School received one threat while Philip Barbour High School was the scene of six similar events last year. A juvenile male Philippi Middle School student was charged with terrorist threats following a bomb threat at the school on Oct. 8. Two juveniles were arrested following unrelated bomb threats at PBHS on May 12. Both Philippi Elementary and PBHS were evacuated on May 30 after officials found what they described as “suspicious notes.”

Referring to the May 12 incidents, Super said, “It’s a terrorist threat. We are going to be asking the authorities to exact the full measure of the law that they can. I will be asking that restitution be made, financial restitution be made, for all the man hours that were lost for any agency that responded. I will be asking for financial restitution for the hours of instruction that were lost.”