Bomb scare at Blanco Middle School leads to student being arrested

The situation unfolded Friday afternoon after school officials were told there was a possible explosive device on campus.

Keitha Sinclair is the principal for the school. She was one of the first to see the devices.

"One looked about the size of a prescription bottle that was wrapped in duct tape, and the other was about 1/2 foot long PVC pipe wrapped in duct tape." she said her instincts kicked in immediately. "They were dangerous they definitely needed to be removed from the student body."

Principal Sinclair said an 8th grader brought multiple flammable devices to school. He was apparently talking about it to his fellow students when they ran for help.

"I'm so proud of them, so proud of them. This is what we talk about all year. Come and tell us if there is something dangerous, and literally they were running down the hall to catch me," she said

The boy brought the devices to her and told her what was inside of them. Principle Sinclair said she had to act immediately and took the devices outside.

"When I knew what the ingredients were, i knew it was very flammable and potentially explosive. I don't know enough about explosives to know if it would explode, but I certainly knew it would hurt people if it was ignited," she said.

The school was immediately evacuated and the students were taken to the nearby elementary.  The Austin Police Department Bomb Squad was called in to help. They analyzed the devices, removed them from the school, and took them into evidence.

Blanco Lieutenant Ben Ablon got emotional when he spoke about the events, and how the principal put herself in harms way for the kids.

"The school principle out of concern for her students picked them up and took them outside. No one was hurt, everybody's gone home safely, and while it's a bad situation, it all turned out good," he said.

The 8th grader, was taken into juvenile custody and despite his actions Principle Sinclair said she is sorry for him and his family.

"I care about him very much,  and I am sorry that he made this decision. Of course we are going to do whatever we have to do to keep the school safe, and there will be consequences," she said.

The Sheriff's Office said that the investigation is ongoing and will be taken over by the Blanco Police Department. School officials said school will be back to normal next week. 

While police were busy investigating, students and parents were nervously awaiting word of what was going to happen next.

Some students said they were actually excited to go home early while others were in tears because they were so afraid.

"It was really scary and everyone else was playing around saying, 'This is so cool how we can get out of school early,' and while we were doing that, I was crying cause it was freaky cause I'm not used to that here," said Ashlinn Calzoncit who attends Blanco Middle School.

"I was really scared, like, what if we dont make it?" another student, Ethan Monasmith, said.

"When I first heard, I was like, 'What would a bomb be doing here?' And when I found out who it was, to think that one of our 8th grade students and one of my best friends would do it... So I was very shocked and I was like, 'Why would he bring a bomb to school? That's stupid,'" said Tucker Lacy, who said he is friends with the student who was arrested.

Parents couldn't believe that something like this could happen so close to home.

"This is a small town. Everybody knows everybody just about, we love everybody, so just to hear that it was very scary," said Wendy Gloor who has a child attending Blanco Middle School.

"I was really impressed with how they handled everything and even the teachers stayed calm, they injected humor into the situation and talked about forgetting their hair gel in the classroom, so they kept things light in a very stressful situation, which I think was great," said Monica Monasmith, Ethan's mother.

Parents who spoke to FOX 7 said they have no reservations about sending their children back to school next week.

"I think it's just one kid and I think really the kid just wasn't thinking. I think kids make mistakes. I think they get mad or do this and I don't think that it's going to continue," Gloor said.

(3:20 PM)  Rocky Road is closed at the vicinity of the middle school. Students who ride Bus 7 will take an alternative route. Their routine arrival time will be delayed.

(3:05 PM) All athletic events scheduled for today vs. Harper in Blanco have been canceled. Coaches are currently conferring with Harper coaches to decide whether to move the athletic events to Harper.

(2:35 PM) All middle school students have been safely evacuated to the elementary gym. The investigation by emergency personnel is ongoing. Officials on the scene at the middle school include Blanco Police Department, Blanco Sheriff’s Office, Blanco Fire Department, Blanco EMS, Austin Police Department, and Austin Bomb Squad. Officials analyzed photos of the suspicious device, and have directed a 200 foot evacuation perimeter around Blanco Middle School. Rocky Road is presently closed at that location.

(2:20 PM) Middle school students have been evacuated to the elementary school gym. We are currently releasing middle school students to their parents at the entrance to the elementary gym on Mesquite Street. Students who ride the bus home will board their bus at the elementary campus and be transported home as usual. Parents who pick up their children after school can pick up their child at the elementary gym. Students who walk home will be released from the elementary gym at 3:25 PM.

(1:55 PM) Law enforcement and fire department personnel expect their attention to this matter will last beyond 4:00 PM. The district is dispatching a fleet of buses to safely evacuate students from the middle school to the elementary school gym. Further information regarding dismissal procedures from school will be posted on the website.

(1:30 PM) Today at Blanco Middle School, it was reported to school officials that a student brought an explosive device to school.  School officials investigated the report, and discovered a suspicious item. The school building was evacuated, and local law enforcement and fire department personnel are now attending to the situation to ensure the safety of all students and district property. The situation is on-going. Students, teachers, and all personnel at the middle school are safe. Updated reports will be posted on our website.

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