Blanco ISD teachers back at work after bomb scare

On Monday, Blanco Middle School was pretty quiet.  Faculty and staff only -- no students...due to a teacher work day already on the calendar.
   
A few streets over, Jim Pepper remembers how hectic the neighborhood was on Friday when suspicious devices were found on campus.

"It looked like the Normandy invasion out here.  Had the DPS and Sheriff's deputies and ambulance...typical though.  I mean it's kind of overkill," Pepper said.

Pepper says he was on the Blanco ISD school board for 12 years -- he was president for 9.
   
He says this isn't the first time something like this has happened in the district.

"Well we had a bomb in the men's restroom at the high school and it was actually detonated.  It blew a hole in the cement and did a lot of damage.  The school was evacuated before it was detonated," he said.

According to FOX 7 records from back in 2000, that was a pipe bomb. Four students were arrested.
   
In this incident, Blanco Middle School principal Keitha St. Clair told reporters Friday an 8th grade boy had brought the devices in his backpack and was telling other students about them in the locker room.
   
St. Clair says those students ran to tell her about the devices.  The student brought them to her as well.  She says he was emotional and apologetic.

"Scary.  One looked about the size of a prescription bottle that was wrapped in duct tape and the other was a longer...about 1/2 foot long PVC pipe wrapped in duct tape," St. Clair said.

St. Clair actually carried the devices outside herself to get them as far away from students and teachers as possible.

"I knew that it was very flammable and potentially explosive," she said.

The school was evacuated and the Austin Bomb Squad was called in to get the devices out of there.
   
The 8th grader was taken into juvenile custody.

"Even though I will enforce those consequences, I care about him very much and I'm sorry that he made this decision," St. Clair said.

"The word that keeps coming to mind about all these kids is 'sad.'  They're so misguided," Pepper said.

We spoke with representatives with the district today.
   
Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford says he's proud of the way students and faculty handled this.
   
Principal St. Clair said the student hasn't been officially expelled yet.  That discussion will be a district process separate from the criminal case.  They expect to begin those discussions later this week.

Blanco Police say they will be at the middle school when school resumes on Tuesday as a comfort to parents, teachers and students.

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