Reward after conviction

Marion County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares speaks to the media following a bomb threat at Fairmont Senior High late Wednesday morning, the second threat at a county school in as many days. The board of education is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.

The Marion County Board of Education is offering a reward to help identify the person or persons calling in bomb threats at county schools.

On Wednesday, a bomb threat was called in to Fairmont Senior High School, the second threat in as many days. Tuesday, a bomb threat disrupted classes at North Marion High.

After those two incidents, county Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares said the board of education is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the threats.

“Threats disrupt the educational process,” Phares said. “In this day and time, you can’t not take it seriously.”

Fairmont City Police Chief Steve Cain said nothing was found at the school Wednesday and the investigation is ongoing.

Students at FSHS lost about one third of their instructional day, just less than three hours, Phares said. Students at NMHS lost about the same amount of time Tuesday.

Phares said the call was received in the school office at about 10:51 a.m., and the staff immediately took action, notifying emergency officials and evacuating the building.

Principal Chad Norman said the call was received by a member of the office staff.

“She followed the procedure to a ‘T,’” Norman said. “We had the building evacuated in less than two minutes and emergency personnel on site within three minutes.”

Fairmont city police brought in a dog trained to sniff out explosives. The building was turned back over to school officials by 1 p.m., Phares said.

Even though there are unusual problems associated with locking down FSHS because of its layout and location, everything went smoothly, he said.

“The protocol was followed, just as it was yesterday,” Phares said.

Norman said protecting the students is of the utmost importance.

“The community and parents have entrusted us with their most precious resource, their children,” Norman said. “We’ll make sure they are safe.”

Just as at North Marion Tuesday, cautious parents had the option of picking up their students for the day. Some parents took that option, Norman said.

“The parents of our students have been great,” Norman said. “They came in, touched base with the administration and signed their students out. They’ve been very supportive and appreciative of us treating this as an emergency.”

At this time, the investigation into both incidents is ongoing, at both the school and law enforcement level.

“We’re investigating just like any other crime,” Cain said. “There’s always something left behind.”

E-mail Katie Wilson at kwilson@timeswv.com.

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