‘Significant’ bomb threat forces full evacuation at Parrish Community High School
Find the latest update from Tuesday’s press conference here.
Parrish Community High School was under an evacuation order Tuesday morning following a “significant” bomb threat, county officials said.
The entire campus was evacuated from the school buildings to the surrounding areas of the grounds.
Public safety officials initially planned to set up a reunification center at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto, according to County Administrator Scott Hopes.
However, school officials confirmed after 3 p.m. that those plans were canceled and students were released as normal from campus at 2:30 p.m.
“There was a significant bomb threat at Parrish Community High School,” Hopes said during the Manatee County Commission’s public workshop meeting.
The source of the threat was an anonymous post on FortifyFL, a security app used for reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement and school officials, according to an email sent to parents and families by school district spokesman Michael Barber just before 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“As always, the school will be working with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and district security on responding to this anonymous threat,” the email said. “In doing so, they will follow all proper procedures and protocols related to bomb threats.”
About 15 minutes later, another email informed parents that administrators had begun an evacuation of the school while law enforcement performed a sweep of the campus.
“All students and staff are safe and law enforcement is checking the campus to make sure everything is secure,” the email said.
In an update just after 11:30 a.m., the district said that students would be allowed to drive home with parent permission, while other plans were being made for non-driving students.
“Parents are lined up all over the place,” Hopes announced in a mid-meeting update to county commissioners.
A public information officer for the sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday morning.
School district officials announced a press conference at 3:30 p.m. press conference to share more information about the situation at PCHS. Superintendent Cynthia Saunders and Sheriff Rick Wells are expected to provide details about the bomb threat.
In a Facebook group for the high school, parents of Parrish Community High School students posted their concerns about the continued threats to the school.
“With the [utmost] respect, this is getting ridiculous now. Manatee County Sheriff’s Office has to do something about this. Another threat,” one group member wrote.
PCHS has recently dealt with several emergency situations. Last week, videos circulated online showing students fleeing the campus following social media rumors about a gun on campus.
The school district later announced that there was no threat to students and that students were reacting to the banging sound caused by doors slamming as they exited the campus. In two separate incidents, medical emergencies triggered the school’s lockdown protocols.
This developing story will be updated.