Bomb threat at Tolles

By Mac Cordell

February 28, 2014

Responders from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate a threat made at Tolles technical school in Plain City.

Lt. Eric Semler, chief of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Unit, said details are still coming in. He said a threat was posted in the Tolles Career & Technical Center building, 7877 U.S. Route 42. The school’s resource officer was notified and the officer contacted the sheriff’s office.

District officials said a student found the threat in the building and reported it to the office at 11:15 a.m.

“After administrators checked that out, they immediately made the decision that it would be best for everyone to begin evacuation procedures,” said Tolles spokesman Shane Haggerty.

He said by 11:25, students were on buses as part of the emergency plan for Tolles.

“We have a plan in place with Jonathan Alder High School,” he said. “That is the location to evacuate to.”

District officials said Jonathan Alder actually sent buses to the Tolles facility to transport the students. Jonathan Alder High School is 1.7 miles from the career center building. Haggerty said about 500 students spent part of the day in the Jonathan Alder auditeria. About 1:30 p.m. the district began to release students as part of their emergency plan.

“At that time, we had to decide to release the students early,” said Haggerty. “We notified all our partner districts and they sent buses to the building to transport their students.”

Students with cars were transported back to the Tolles campus to get their cars once the “all-clear” was given.

Semler said the Columbus bomb squad was contacted. Bomb sniffing dogs were brought to the building.

“It appears they didn’t find anything,” said Semler.

Haggerty said the school will be back in session tomorrow morning.

“All student items will be secured overnight and students will get everything back tomorrow,” Tolles said in an announcement about 1:45 p.m.

They followed that announcement by saying “Students should report to their last period class first thing tomorrow morning to pick up personal items left in the building.”

Haggerty said the evacuation plan went “perfectly.” He said there was some concern given the cold, but the school made accommodations as best as possible to keep students both out of danger and out of the elements.

“Students were all very well-behaved and we certainly appreciate the cooperation with Jonathan Alder School District in this emergency,” said Haggerty.

He said there were not many additional details about the threat that could be released.

“It will be an investigation,” said Haggerty. “We will be investigating to find out who made the threat.”

Mac Cordell can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 21 or on Twitter @MacCordell.