Highlands students evacuated after suspicious bags trigger bomb threat
A school wide evacuation at Highlands Intermediate kept students locked in classrooms for nearly three hours Tuesday after police said faculty discovered two suspicious suitcases near the campus library.
A school wide evacuation at Highlands Intermediate kept students locked in classrooms for nearly three hours Tuesday after Honolulu Police said faculty discovered two suspicious suitcases near the campus library.
According to police, an on site investigation by HPD's bomb squad determined the bags were not a threat.
"In the suitcases were clothing, looks like possible teenager female type clothing, even a stuffed animal was in there," said HPD Sgt. Ronald Taira.
The bags were checked in to HPD's evidence department. Police said the owner can reclaim the suitcases and will not face any criminal charges.
But before the threat was eliminated. Students and staff sheltered in place in classrooms for what seemed like an eternity.
7th grader Josue Rodriguez was shaken up.
"We had to like shut the lights and hide in the middle of the class. I was like what is happening, is this a drill? I was confused," Rodriguez said.
Parents waited nervously outside the school for their children to be released. Ola'a Hanohano-Ineri's son called her from class asking to be picked up.
"I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, ''Hiding under the desk.'' And my heart just dropped to my butt,"' said Hanohano-Ineri.
One father told Island News his son said students were complaining about how hot the classrooms were and that boys were using the bathroom in trash cans.
Parents say the school didn't alert them until about an hour after the threat was reported. Jaclyn Lomavita doesn't understand why it took the school so long. Her twins attend Highlands. Her daughter called while they hunkering down.
"Of course you're worried, you're scared. I mean like what's going on? Just wanted to get some type of information," said Lomavita.
Honolulu Police said the school followed proper protocol. And although the threat turned up false, after last month's fatal shooting at a Florida high school, its better to err on the side of caution.