After the rush of fear and adrenaline from Rider’s bomb threat, administration debriefed Friday and concluded on several changes to the evacuation plan. No one on campus imagined those changes would be put into action the next school day.
The following Monday, Rider received another bomb threat, leading to a second evacuation. Though the threat was definitely not ideal, the situation was handled smoother than the previous Friday.
During the first evacuation, students suffered in the midday heat where, according to principal Cody Blair “several staff and students needed medical attention due to the heat” but he was “proud of how both students and staff helped out those in need.”
After Friday’s threat, the Rider admin team went straight to work to improve protocol.
“We spent Friday evening debriefing on adjustments and improvements that needed to be made, sought out staff insight for areas to address, and then worked this weekend to re-organizing several aspects of our evacuation procedures,” Blair said.
One big change Monday was that students and staff took shelter inside. Two of the four evacuation groups headed to Jefferson Elementary’s gym. Another group was relocated across the street to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, while a fourth group was split between the weight room and batting cages.
Another difference was that the building was cleared quicker. Friday’s threat lasted about 75 minutes before students returned to the school in contrast to Monday’s estimated 45 minutes.
Many first responders were present during both events, such as WFPD and WFFD, who were on the scene almost immediately. The fire department was tasked with searching the building and the police department took care of traffic and communication between services. The FBI began the attempt to track the culprit and EMT’s attended to those with medical emergencies. The Wichita County Sheriff’s Department, state game wardens and a constable were also on campus.
A a 15-year-old from Dallas and a 14-year-old from Wichita Falls have been taken into custody in relation to the threats from both last and this week, according to the Times Record News.
“We are all about continuous improvement, and here is an opportunity for us to get better,” said Blair, who responded to The Rider Chronicle’s interview before Monday’s threat. “We will work hard to do so.”