School bomb threat may have been one of many

The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office is trying to determine whether a phony bomb threat received at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Strasburg was part of nationwide hoax that also victimized the school’s famous namesake in Connecticut.

Sheriff Timothy C. Carter said his department answered a report of a threat at Sandy Hook Elementary at 4:01 p.m. Monday. Most of the students had left for the day, although a few remained for after-school programs. Carter said law enforcement officials, including a K-9 unit from Frederick County, searched the school several times and found no threats.

“We determined that it was a hoax,” Carter said.

In the meantime, the Sheriff’s Office received a phone call from an unidentified person in Connecticut who reported that the Sandy Hook Elementary School that was the scene of a mass shooting in December 2012 had also received a bomb threat that had since been determined to be false.

Schools across the nation reported similar threats Monday. Lockdowns and evacuations were ordered in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Carter said he was able to confirm there was a bomb scare at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The school building where the shooting occurred has been demolished and is being replaced with a new building scheduled to open later this year. The existing Sandy Hill Elementary School in Connecticut occupies a building in a nearby town that is serving as a temporary school until the new one opens in Newtown.

Carter said he is unsure how someone from the area of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut would have known there was also a report of a bomb scare at the same time at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Strasburg.

“Theirs was a hoax. Ours was a hoax,” Carter said. “It’s my understanding that there’s been some across the country that were hoaxes. We don’t know if ours was related to any of them at this point.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or