BUCKHANNON - Students at Buckhannon Upshur Middle School were evacuated Friday morning because of a bomb threat, officials said.
Assistant Superintendent Jack L. Reger confirmed the threat Friday afternoon.
"All students were evacuated and the building was searched," Reger said. "Students returned to the building once it was searched and nothing was found."
Reger said the event caused a huge disruption to the school instructional day.
"If the culprit is found, the superintendent and board of education will take strict action," Reger said.
Reger said incidents like Friday's threat and evacuation are frustrating and very upsetting to parents as well as students.
Making a bomb threat carries stiff penalties. Individuals 18 or older who are found guilty of calling in bomb threats are likely to be charged with threats of terrorist acts, a felony that carries a penalty of one to three years of imprisonment in a state penitentiary, a fine between $5,000 and $25,000 or both.
If the perpetrator is 17 or younger, he or she is charged with a felony or misdemeanor in the juvenile court system, just as that person would be in the adult court system.
Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora III recently told The Inter-Mountain that those found guilty of making such threats are placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services and sentenced to a juvenile detention center (if convicted). He said one common misconception is that many teens believe once they turn 18, they will be released from an assigned juvenile detention center, but that's simply inaccurate.
He added a threat like that could put the guilty party in a detention center until the age of 21.