ALTON — Alton Middle School and Alton High School were both forced to relocate students Monday after a threatening call was placed to both schools.
Alton High School students began relocating to Heartland Baptist Church and the AHS Athletic Complex at approximately 11:45 a.m. While the threatening calls appeared to be a possible prank or hoax, district and law enforcement officials elected to err on the side of caution by relocating students. Alton Middle School relocated students to Main Street Methodist and Calvary Baptist Churches in Alton a short while later. Because of the extended time required for law enforcement to search the buildings, district officials elected to dismiss school early for most students.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. Monday, both Alton High and Alton Middle School were cleared by law enforcement for re-entry by students and staff wishing to retrieve personal belongings prior to school tomorrow.
According to Mark Cappel, Alton School District superintendent, students and staff did an excellent job of executing emergency plans while citing the enormous task of moving more than 3,500 students with very short notice.
“Even though it is early in the year, the students and staff at both schools implemented our emergency relocation plans very well," Cappel said. "Student safety is our first priority above all else.”
Cappel also shared his gratitude for the churches that assisted in housing students during the temporary incident.
“We are very thankful to our local churches that are so generous in allowing us to use their facilities in times of need,” he said.
The alleged threats phoned into each school are still under investigation. With both schools declared safe for re-entry by law enforcement, school will resume as normal Tuesday.
In a Facebook post Monday, the Alton Police Department confirmed no bombs were found at Alton Middle School.
“We want to commend everyone involved in today’s evacuation at the Alton Middle School,” the post states. “The staff of the school district and the Alton Police Department worked seamlessly together and all children are safe and accounted for.
“We take any threat very seriously and will seek prosecution for any individual(s) involved in this incident,” the post states.