Bentonville school administrators met on Tuesday to discuss ways to keep students safe, after a bomb threat cleared Bentonville High School earlier in the day.
The threat was the second for the high school in two days. An 18-year-old student was arrested Tuesday in connection with Monday’s separate threat, in which a note on a restroom wall stated the writer was going to “shoot the place up”. School officials said that student was not connected to Tuesday's bomb threat.
The threats caused school officials to institute new rules when classes at the high school open back up Wednesday. Administrators are restricting which restrooms may be used, and students will be monitored while entering and existing the bathrooms.
“We will have adults standing by restrooms 100 percent of the time tomorrow, so there’s no way someone will enter a restroom without an adult seeing them go in and out,” said school district spokeswoman Mary Ley. “Safety is our number one priority, so we will never take these situations lightly.”
Local police and the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force are investigating Tuesday’s bomb threat, but did not find any signs of a bomb. No one has been arrested in the case.
The high school was evacuated Tuesday around noon after a bomb threat was found in a boys’ restroom. Students were first evacuated to the north building gymnasium and then were let out of school at 12:15 p.m.
Some students said they support the school's decision to increase security.
"I do think there should be extra people on campus, so that they can help with the security," said Abram Parks, a student. "That way if someone does something like this again, we can get them caught and get back to our schoolwork faster."
Ryan Parks, Abram's father, said he believes the school is handling the incidents the right way.
"I think they have shown how serious they are, by the arrest that has been made with yesterday's threat," he said. "I think they are taking action and I feel pretty confident as a parent that our school and our police officers have this under control."
School officials said they hope the community will help them in their effort to inform students that their actions do have consequences.
"We must communicate this message to students that choices like these can impact them for the rest of their lives in a negative way," Ley said.
Photos courtesy of Noah West.