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Friday February 12th, 2016 7:18AM

Jefferson police investigate middle school bomb threat

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
JEFFERSON - Jefferson's Police chief assured the public Thursday afternoon that if investigators find out who wrote a bomb threat on a bathroom stall at Jefferson Middle School, that individual will be prosecuted.

Not mincing words about the message that forced the disruption of school for about two hours Thursday morning, Chief Joe Wirthman said it affected a good part of the community.

"I tied up my whole police department. There were firemen there. We had four officers from other agencies. The school was out. Parents got notified and were calling in. They were a little stressed, as they should be, that they had this issue up at school, all for what somebody may have thought was a prank or funny. We don't take that as funny," Wirthman said.

Wirthman said his department got the call about the message around 8:40 a.m. He said the writing on a bathroom stall door indicated a bomb would go off today (Thursday).

The chief said the school immediately evacuated its about 700 students to Jefferson Primary School.

"They did it very well I might add," Wirthman said.

Police cordoned off the area and requested bomb-sniffing dogs through mutual aid. Wirthman said officers and four dogs, two pairs each from the University of Georgia and Hall County Sheriff's Office, searched the middle school and did not find any explosives.

Faculty and students then returned to class.

An incident at East Jackson Comprehensive High School (EJCHS) in Commerce caused a similar disruption Wednesday. Wirthman said the Jefferson message could be a copycat, but investigators aren't sure yet.

Wirthman said in addition to prosecution, the culprit in the Jefferson case could face other consequences if they're found.

"Their parents will be notified. There may even be some civil liabilities to the family."

Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum also vowed Wednesday to prosecute the responsible party in the EJCHS case, if they're found.
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