Bomb threats force evacuation of Middletown, Newport schools

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Schools in Middletown and Newport were evacuated Thursday after police received a robocall stating that bombs were planted in three local schools.

According to police, the Middletown Police Department received the call, which named Rogers High School and Thompson Middle School in Newport, and Middletown High School. The call came in around 12:30 p.m., police said.

After Middletown police received the message, the Newport Police Department was notified. According to police, a decision was made to evacuate Middletown High Schoool so authorities could search the building.

Once the school was evacuated, all students were placed on buses and sent home for the remainder of the school day, police said.

The Newport Police Department confirmed that students at Rogers were sent home Thursday, and students at Thompson were also evacuated – though it was unclear if they were sent home.

String of bomb threats 

Thursday’s threats were the most recent in a string of school-related threats in Newport. According to police, an anonymous, threatening call was made around 6:30 p.m. Sunday night to the principal of Rogers High School.

Police said they immediately searched the Rogers school grounds and found no evidence of foul play. Officers and school administrators quickly determined school would not be canceled, and safety for students and faculty would be maintained.

Around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, an anonymous, computer-automated call was made to the Newport Police Department headquarters, threatening Newport public schools. School grounds were searched again and no evidence of foul play, physical threat or object of concern was discovered, according to police.

On Wednesday, Newport police responded to another threat at Rogers High School, marking the third threat to schools in that city this week. The first two were deemed to be hoaxes.

In a separate incident, a threat was also called into Warwick Veterans Memorial High School Wednesday. The school was evacuated and all students were escorted to nearby Mickey Stevens Area, where rescue personnel, mental health staff, and police officers were on hand. Bus pick-up was rerouted and students were sent home early.

Eyewitness News uses extreme caution when reporting on threats against schools, weighing the potential for copycat crimes and your need to know what’s happening at schools and what’s being done to keep students safe.

In Rhode Island, police tell us making a threat is a serious crime that could lead to as many as 10 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

Massachusetts State Police have told us calling in a fake threat is punishable by as much as 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both.

Shaun Towne and Bill Tomison contributed to this report. 

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