Bomb threat evacuation at Mt. Diablo HS turns ugly

May 9, 2013 5:54:13 PM PDT
An emergency evacuation at an East Bay high school turned into a near-riot Thursday after parents got a call to pick up their kids immediately, but then had to wait for hours.

It happened in Concord at Mt. Diablo High School. The threat turned out to be nothing. The all clear was given at the school around 3:15 p.m. The problems started in the morning after parents were called to pick up their kids and when that process took too long, school officials and police found themselves outnumbered.

"Like I told you man, we could move people faster than this in Iraq. It's ridiculous," one man was overherd saying on his cell phone. His anger was reflected in the faces of hundreds of other parents who stood in line for two hours or longer to pick up their kids after the bomb threat forced an evacuation.

"They don't release my kids. I have to be in line again. Would you think they put me back in the line? No. That's what I'm screaming right now. I'm mad," Elma Buder told ABC7 News.

At one point, Concord police considered calling in mutual aid as parents became increasingly upset and kids started jumping over the fence. "My mom's been waiting here for hours. I couldn't get my way out so I hopped the fence," student Rocio Curio said, adding that he cut his hand. "Yeah, I cut my hand.."

The whole episode began when the school reported a bomb threat just after 10 a.m. and parents were called to come pick up their kids. Things did not go smoothly. "Kids are jumping the fence. The parents are about ready to riot and they have no control whatsoever," parent Laurie o'Driscoll said.

With kids peering through the fence and their parents standing in a line that extended two blocks into a residential neighborhood, everyone got restless a police tried to keep things under control.

"This is just ridiculous. I mean this is not a jail. Let them out. This is not a jail. Let them out," student Leo Villapando said.

Asked what if the incident was a bigger emergency like an earthquake, Jonathan Roselin with Mt. Diablo Unified School District said, "Once again, we're doing our best. People are trying to keep everybody calm. We're all doing our best. We're all people here and we're asking people to cooperate with us as best we can."

School officials say they followed their own procedures and they consider the evacuation a success because everybody got out safely. Some of the parents think it could have been done differently.


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