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Seven Rio Grande Valley school districts on Monday reported receiving an emailed bomb threat that did not originate locally, which does not appear credible.
Nonetheless, state and federal law enforcement along with school districts in San Perlita, Raymondville, Lyford, Lasara, Port Isabel, La Villa and Weslaco sprung into action by enacting various measures of precautions in response to the threats.
San Perlita Independent School District Superintendent of Schools Albert Byrom said in a letter to parents that the school was immediately evacuated and students and staff were sent home.
“This morning San Perlita ISD received a bomb threat via email. All threats will be treated as if they are valid, and we will always put our students’ and staff’s safety as top priority,” Byrom wrote.
The letter said that the Willacy County Sheriff’s Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the school’s safety director searched the campus.
“After a thorough search of our school’s premises, the school was deemed secure and safe,” Byrom said.
School there is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning at its normal time.
Stetson Roan, the superintendent of schools for the Raymondville Independent School District, said they also received “a non-credible email bomb threat.”
“We want to emphasize that after collaboration with both the FBI and local law enforcement, it has been determined that this threat is not credible,” Stetson wrote in a letter to parents.
Students there were relocated to a designated safe location that was assessed and determined to be safe.
“However, out of an abundance of caution, we have initiated a response to ensure that our campuses are secure environments for learning,” Roane wrote. “The (Raymondville ISD) Police Department, in coordination with local law enforcement will be conducting thorough sweeps of all our campuses to ensure they are safe and secure.”
Following that sweep, the district confirmed each campus is safe and secure for all students and staff.
The Lasara Independent School District asked parents to pick up their children and canceled classes Monday. School will resume as normal Tuesday morning.
“Parents please talk with your children about not joking or making false statements about today’s events,” the district said in a statement to parents. “This will not be taken lightly and will be reported to authorities.”
The Lyford Consolidated Independent School District said in a letter to parents Monday morning that it received a notification via its website’s contact form that explosives had allegedly been placed at all campuses.
Students there were evacuated and the district’s police department conducted a primary sweep of all the buildings where the students were evacuated to.
By Monday afternoon, students were back at their campuses and school resumed for the day.
The Point Isabel Independent School District also received the emailed threat and initiated the district’s emergency safety protocols and reached out to law enforcement.
“Our collaborative efforts with federal law enforcement have revealed that several other school districts in the Rio Grande Valley received similar bomb threats via email,” the district said in a letter to parents. “Law enforcement authorities have ascertained that these emails did not originate within the local area, casting doubt on their credibility.”
Following a search at district facilities, the threat was determined not to be credible.
“Consequently, despite the ongoing heightened state of alert across all campuses, it was determined that students could safely remain at their respective schools,” the statement said.
The La Villa Independent School District also confirmed that it received the same threat.
“We are following all proper protocols to maintain the safety of our students and staff,” the district said in a statement. “All necessary emergency agencies are assisting us currently. All students and staff are in a secure area.”
Early Monday afternoon, law enforcement was conducting a sweep of the district’s campuses, according to a statement, which said once cleared, the schools will remain in session.
The Weslaco Independent School District also said it received the bomb threat.
“All threat assessment protocols are in place. Weslaco (police) and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the matter,” the district said. “Weslaco ISD takes threats against students and staff seriously as school safety is our top priority.”