Bomb Threat Leads to Evacuation, Policy Change


Anavi Prakash, Editor

November 11, 2021, started as an ordinary Thursday, something that quickly changed at 10:55 AM when Whitefish Bay High School had a bomb threat called in. 


The Evacuation

Evacuations started immediately, with all students reporting to the football field with their third-hour classes. The police arrived at the school around the same time, barricading the roads near the school. Soon after, due to the rainy weather and length of the evacuation,  everyone was evacuated to Whitefish Bay Middle School, where classes were divided by department in various areas, specifically both gyms and the cafeteria. 

Mr. Johnson, who was teaching AP Economics when the evacuation occurred, said that given “that it was 47 degrees out and rainy, I knew it wasn’t a drill. I stayed calm and evacuated”. He added that the “students handled it well and everyone was accounted for”, which is the best thing that could happen. 

All high school students and staff are trained to react during instances like a bomb threat by participating in evacuation drills. Each teacher has a place to go on the football field, and if the evacuation takes place during non-instructional time, students are to report to where their seventh-hour teacher is. 


Evacuation Phone Policy 

While the evacuation occurred in an orderly fashion, the division came in regards to phones. In every class, students are required to put their phone in a phone caddy and cannot use it unless permitted by the teacher until the next passing period. 

Due to the evacuation happening without any warning, some teachers told their students to take their phones, while many did not. Students who had their phones were able to communicate with their families, and many lent their phones to other students to contact their families.  

The policy has since changed and students are to take their phones with them during future evacuations.  


Students’ Release 

Students were released from the middle school at around noon. If they were able to walk home, students were allowed to do so, and if they needed to get picked up, a pick-up zone was created on Sylvan Avenue. 

No one was allowed back in the school building and students who parked their cars around the school’s block were unable to get to their cars. The area was closed off while the police searched the school. 


Safe To Go Back 

At 2:53 PM, parents and guardians were sent a message saying it was safe for students to go back into the school from 3:05-3:45 PM to retrieve their belongings.  

During this time, a student took photos of the chemistry test they were taking at the time of the evacuation and sent them to other students. The result was a new test being created for the students who had yet to take the test. Sophomore chemistry student Aby Truett said she “was pretty surprised because you rarely hear about students doing this at WFBHS. Once the fact that we had to take a different test was announced[,] it seemed very unfair. A lot of students said this test was more difficult which[,] in turn[,] made me more anxious to take the test.” The student responsible has not yet been found. If they are found, per the school’s academic dishonesty policy, they will potentially receive a minor or major, and/or an Activities Code violation, which affects their participation in school activities and sports. 

Extracurricular activities were also given the go-ahead to continue, including the last rehearsal for the fall play, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, as well as various sports practices. 


The Next Day 

Friday, November 12, started with an announcement from Principal Levek, who said that the investigation was ongoing and if a student is found responsible, they will face possible expulsion. 

Many teachers worked with an adjusted schedule, as many students did not return to school to pick up their bags, resulting in an inability to do homework, among other things. 

Currently, according to the Whitefish Bay police, the investigation into the bomb threat is still ongoing.