By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
Accolades passed between the Jonathan Alder Local School District and its neighbor, Tolles Career & Technical Center, over a recent emergency at the career center.
“We’re glad you’re our neighbor,” Tolles Superintendent Kim Wilson said at the March 10 Jonathan Alder school board meeting.
A bomb threat was uncovered at Tolles on Feb. 27, a day when temperatures were in the teens. As many as 500 students were forced to evacuate the building.
“Within 20 minutes, busses from Jonathan Alder were there to take our students to safety,” Wilson said. Students huddled in an administration area until they could be transported.
“It happened during the second lunch period, and some of the students hadn’t eaten lunch,” she added.
Jonathan Alder food service personnel scrambled to provide a lunch for the unexpected visitors while other staffers provided amenities for the students to continue with their studies.
“We learned a lot that day, but our (crisis) plan worked well,” Wilson said. “The students were well behaved.”
Tolles draws students for career education classes from school districts in Madison, Union and northwestern Franklin counties.
“Everyone was impressed with the way it was handled,” said Jonathan Alder school board member Tom Bichsel who serves as a liaison between the two schools.
“We’re glad we could be of assistance,” said Jonathan Alder Superintendent Gary Chapman.
Wilson said law enforcement agencies have found the person they believe to be responsible.
“He is an 18-year-old and has been charged with a second-degree felony,” she said.
The Jonathan Alder school board commended several people for their work during the emergency, including those who:
• organized and communicated to all staff what was needed during the situation;
• transported students and staff from their building in a moment’s notice;
• prepared and served lunch to the evacuees;
• set up an area for the evacuees;
• tended to the technology needs of the students so they could continue working;
• were on hand for any medical needs until the Tolles school nurse arrived.