A 17-year-old male student at Sioux Central High School has been arrested for making a bomb threat that caused the entire K-12 school campus in Sioux Rapids to be evacuated Monday morning.
According to Buena Vista County Sheriff Chuck Eddy, his department was alerted by the school that the student had left the school and set out south on foot through the cornfields.
Officers responding picked up the teenager in a field about one to two miles from the school building, and while driving him back to Sioux Rapids, the youth allegedly told officers that explosive devices had been planted inside the school.
After meeting with school officials, the decision was made to evacuate the campus and sweep for bomb devices. No problems were found, and the teen was arrested and charged with making the threats, a class D felony. He was put in the custody of Youth Emergency Services, and his home was also checked with no explosives found, according to Eddy.
Sioux Central Superintendent Bonnie Meier said that a letter was sent home to all parents Monday explaining the situation.
Students were evacuated to another district building at about 9 a.m., and returned to classes at about 10:30. "By 11 a.m., everything was pretty much back to normal. We are proud of our staff and students for the orderly way they handled this evacuation, and we also want to thank the sheriff's department for doing an excellent job to help us," she said.
The school had recently held a mock disaster drill, which paid off in the smooth response to the bomb threat, the superintendent said. "In our drill, we used the scenario of a truck full of anhydrous ammonia having tipped over, but the response and evacuation techniques in this instance were exactly the same, and everyone knew exactly what to do. We have a strong emergency procedure in place, and step one is always to make decisions based on the protecting our students at all times."
This was the first bomb threat the school has experienced in a couple of years, officials said.
The name of the student arrested is not being released at this time, and the investigation is continuing.