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UPDATE: Drawing of popular meme led to Poplar Springs bomb scare
The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office has identified an 11-year-old Poplar Springs student as the source of a perceived bomb threat that led to the school’s evacuation Tuesday morning. HCSO investigators state the student drew a picture illustrating a popular meme featuring the fictious character “Sonic the Hedgehog” and bearing the phrase, “There’s a pipe bomb in your mailbox.”
The threat was reported after the drawing was found in a boys’ restroom. A review of surveillance video helped investigators identify the student.
The child, who told investigators he left the drawing in the bathroom for a friend to find, will not face felony charges for the incident. He is, however, expected to be charged with the misdemeanor offense of disruption of a school event.
HCSO states that after consulting with the State Attorney’s Office, it was determined the drawing was not made with the intent of being a threat.
The Holmes County School District advised Tuesday afternoon the campus had been cleared.
“We would like to thank our local law enforcement and public service agencies for their assistance today, as well as you, the public for your patience as we all dealt with a challenging, stressful situation,” the district said in a message to parents. “At all times, our top priority is to keep students and staff safe. Your cooperation and understanding today has made that job easier, and we appreciate the trust you put in us every day.”
The Holmes County School District advises that all Poplar Springs students, with the exception of those on field trips, have been safely evacuated to Bethlehem School and accounted for.
“Parents may begin picking up students at this time,” wrote the school district in an alert sent out through the school’s notification system. “Upon arrival at Bethlehem, parents should pull into the bus loop. You must bring photo ID in order to sign out your student. Students will only be released to an individual on their emergency contact list in the Focus student information system. This process may take some time, so we ask for your patience as we handle this situation in the safest manner for our students.”
Students who are on the field trip will be taken to Bethlehem at approximately 1:30 p.m. and should be picked up there. Parents are asked to follow the same procedures as above for checking out their child(ren). No one should attempt to go on campus at Poplar Springs at this time.
Poplar Springs School is currently being evacuated due to a bomb threat.
Law enforcement has been notified and is en route to the school.
When all students have been relocated and accounted for, parents will be notified through the school’s automated call system and the mobile app. They may begin picking up their children at that time.
All students must be accounted for before any are permitted to leave with their parents.
This report will be updated as more information becomes available.