Police have arrested two more students, age 10, in connection to the recent string of school bomb threats in Bristol, according to Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne.
One of the youths is suspected to be responsible for a bomb threat was found scrawled on a bathroom wall at Edgewood School Thursday. The individual is an Edgewood student. That marked the seventh bomb scare in the city in the past 10 days, hours before an eighth at Greene-Hills School.
The other suspect was arrested in connection to a Wednesday evening bomb threat found at Stafford Elementary School. The child is a student at the school.
The school bomb threats in Bristol, Connecticut are taxing emergency resources and officials are holding a public forum on Thursday night to address the issue.
Police announced a public forum to address the problem after responding to the Edgewood bomb threat on Thursday morning. Just two hours later there was an eighth bomb threat.
Just before 3 p.m., police were called to Greene-Hills School. It was the second threat Thursday.
"I was working and I got here as soon as I could. This is ridiculous. What is this, the eighth school?" Bristol parent Robin Lauzon said. "My kids are done with school until they can prove they're safe."
Parent Jackie Chamberlain was also alarmed.
"It's scary, it's scary. Something's gonna happen. We don't know. We don't know," Chamberlain said. "They told the kids it was a drill."
Though Bristol mother Yolanda Kolb said that decision was "probably better for the students, so that way they don't get all nervous," she said that the situation made her nervous.
"It's a little nervewracking when you come to get your kid from school and all the roads are blocked off and you're told you can't get your kid," she said.
During the first six incidents, students were sent home early, but Bristol Supt. Ellen Solek said on Wednesday night that the policy would change.
As police checked Edgewood, students waited out in the rain at the nearby Giamatti Little League Complex before being allowed back in.
"The school was evacuated initially. We searched the school – Bristol Police – nothing suspicious was located, and the children were brought back in," Bristol Police Lt. Donn Watson said.
"It just started off as a normal day," Dontay Arnold, a second grade student, said.
When asked if he felt any differently about it after he found out it was a bomb threat, Arnold said, "My stomach hurt. That's all I can say."
Bristol mother Melissa Dunlap shared her frustration and concern.
"We don't know how the kids are. The kids are probably scared and crying and everything, you know," Dunlap said. "We don't know, and it's not right."
The threats started on May 27 at Bristol Central High School. According to the principal, a student found a message on a desk that said a bomb would go off that morning.
Two days later, there was a bomb threat at Bristol Eastern High School. A female student received a text from a number she did not recognize and reported it, according to police.
On June 3, police responded to Northeast Middle School after a student found a note that said a bomb would go off.
On Wednesday, police responded to three bomb threats, deploying officers to Chippens Hill Middle School, St. Paul Catholic High School and Stafford Elementary School.
During a news conference on Wednesday evening, police said they are looking at charges that involve terrorism.
The costs of emergency response to the bogus bomb threats is adding up.
"This is costing us a minimum of $40,000 per call, between fire, police ambulance," Mayor Cockayne said. "and it's taking away from other emergencies. We have a fire truck sitting here, that could be responding to another call somewhere."
A public forum is planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday in the auditorium of Bristol Eastern High School. Mayor Cockayne, Supt. Solek and Chief of Police Thomas Grimaldi will speak during a public forum.
"This is just copycat kids, that’s all it is," Cockayne said. "They’re seeing that they get a day off from school by putting something out there.
It is open to the public and is being held to share the most up-to-date information, as well as plans for future incidents.
"Once the students see it's not a game anymore, we're wasting a lot of resources," Cockayne said. "We're going to go after the parents for the cost of this and hopefully it will stop."
One person has been charged in connection with the threats.
A 13-year-old student suspected in the Chippens Hill Middle School threat has been charged with first-degree false reporting and first-degree threatening, both felonies, as well as second-degree breach of peach and second-degree reckless endangerment.
Police said they are close to making another arrest.
The city of Bristol is offering a reward of $1,000 per arrest and conviction of any individual involved in the sequence of bomb threats at city schools.
"From my mayor's office, I am saying prosecute fully," Cockayne said. "We will also seek restitution."
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com