Update: Teen arrested after bomb threat at Eastern MS, HS

May 23—GREENTOWN — A Kokomo teenager was arrested Monday following a bomb threat that caused the evacuation of students at Eastern Middle and High schools.

Superintendent Keith Richie said the high school received a call for a bomb threat around 11:15 a.m. Eastern Middle and High schools were immediately evacuated.

A Facebook post from the school corporation said the call came from an "unidentified private phone number."

The Howard County Sheriff's Office arrested the 17-year-old male Monday afternoon on a charge of for intimidation, a level six felony. The teen was not a student at Eastern.

Students were sent to the football stadium. Richie said the building was cleared out within minutes.

"With it being nice out, we wanted to get them outside and out of the building as fast as we could," he said.

The superintendent said staff handled the situation in a calm, orderly manner.

"Our kids did an excellent job, too," Richie said.

Students remained at the football field until buses were ready to take them home. Richie said most middle school students were picked up by their parents. High school students who drive were allowed to leave after police determined it was safe for them to get to their cars at the high school.

The Howard County Sheriff's Office, Indiana State Police and multiple school resources officers were on scene. A sweep of the middle and high school by bomb-sniffing dogs turned up no threat. The building was cleared around 2 p.m.

"I can't remember another bomb threat since I've have started here," Richie said Monday afternoon.

The school day went on as normal, or close to it, at Eastern Elementary School. Parents were allowed to pull their elementary students out of school. Richie said 160 students were picked up by their parents.

"There was no threat at the elementary," the superintendent said.

Eastern notified parents via automated text and calls, Facebook and on its website. Richie said even though they have a system to push out calls and texts, not everyone receives them at the same time.

Some will receive the notices immediately; others won't receive a text or call for 45 minutes. Richie said it's due to the limits of the system and notifying hundreds of people at a time.

After-school activities, including Little League games, were expected to go on as scheduled.

By the time Richie spoke with the Tribune, around 3:30 p.m., some students had returned to school to pick up study materials. This is finals week. The last day of school is Thursday.

"We want calm the next three days," Richie said.

This story has been updated with arrested information.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.