Law enforcement in Panama City Beach is trying to determine who called in a bomb threat to Arnold High School.
The scare forced teachers and students to evacuate around noon Tuesday.
“I left some bombs at my high school and they’re going to blow up in 15 minutes,” the unknown caller said, heard in 911 audio from Panama City Beach Police.
Principal Keith Bland said the caller also called Arnold’s main switchboard with a similar threat.
Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies and beach police responded to sweep the school.
Administrators first put the school on lockdown, then evacuated all teachers and students to nearby Mike Gavlak Stadium. They also placed Breakfast Point Academy on lockdown as a precaution.
“We went from our classroom out to the football field and then from there we just sat and waited for stuff to be heard,” Senior Caleb Stephens said.
While many students said they were just confused by the situation, upset parents wanting to pick up their kids were stuck waiting at the Ameris bank. Police shut down Alf Coleman Road and turned away all drivers.
Some parents expressed frustration about a lack of communication and available information. The district sent an IRIS Alert to Arnold and Breakfast Point parents, but several at the bank said they never received one.
Other parents simply felt powerless.
“I feel like they’re doing the best they can do. These are crisis situations, and it’s hard to critique in the moment,” said Regina McCracken, mother of a ninth grader.
Bland said the school prepares for these situations. In fact, the school conducted an evacuation drill the Friday before Thanksgiving break, but he and administrators will use this situation to improve their response plans.
“We’re going to sit and see what ways we can improve what took place and ways that we can also improve student safety and security,” Bland said.
Panama City Beach police are still investigating and haven’t made any arrests yet.
Arnold High School was evacuated Tuesday afternoon as authorities searched for a bomb following a bomb threat.
Bay District School officials sent out this tweet at about 12:30 p.m. “We have a bomb threat at Arnold. Students and faculty are safe and have been evacuated. Law enforcement is handling the situation. Breakfast Point Academy is also on lockdown as a precaution. All students are safe.”
They followed up with another tweet at 1 p.m.
“All BPA students are safe and are in their classrooms learning with their teachers. No one is permitted to enter, or leave, the school at this time and that won’t change until law enforcement lifts the lockdown. Law enforcement officers are on campus at this time.”
Then, shortly before 2 p.m. both schools were given the all clear and students were allowed to return to class.