Chapel Hill High School students were dismissed from classes early Thursday afternoon in response to a bomb threat that was discovered by school officials late Wednesday.
After the bomb threat was found, officials searched the school and found nothing that could potentially endanger the students' safety. Based on information from the threat, an evacuation was planned for Thursday afternoon.
School officials said in a press release Thursday that the threat included specific time information, which is being withheld due to ongoing investigations. Officials would not say if it was communicated by telephone or written note.
"The evacuation proceeded smoothly," said Kim Hoke, spokeswoman for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. "An announcement was made in the morning so the students understood what was going to happen."
After the students' 12:30 p.m. dismissal, school, police and Chapel Hill Fire Department officials thoroughly searched the school.
"We're working with the school," said Lt. Jerrie Cole, of the Chapel Hill police. "(School officials) are pretty much calling the shots, and we are doing what we can to follow up on that. Our policy is enforcing safety."
Hoke said the presence of police was heightened Thursday and the dismissal served as a drill and a security measure.
"It was an immediate response to the threat," she said. "It was also an opportunity for the school to practice their evacuation plan."
Hoke said officials were unable to find anything in the search conducted Thursday afternoon. "There's no evidence there was anything on the campus," she said. "No bomb or explosive device of that nature has been discovered."
The CHHS threat came a week after Sitterson Hall was evacuated after a bomb threat was called in to UNC officials.
As part of the Safe Schools Plan, procedures were followed closely and parents were informed prior to the students' dismissal, Hoke said. A $500 reward is being offered by CHHS for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the threat.
A press release sent out by CHHS officials also stated that students communicating a bomb threat could be convicted of a felony, which would result in a prison sentence. A convicted student could be required to pay the cost of the disruption.
"We want students to understand how serious incidents like this are," Hoke said. "It can have major consequences for the perpetrators."
Hoke said the matter has now been turned over to the Chapel Hill police for investigation and Friday will be an ordinary school day. "Plans are to continue for a normal school day."
Angela Parker contributed to this article.
The City Editor can be reached at email@example.com.