A message scrawled on a bathroom wall at East Ridge Middle School forced East Ridge authorities to call in the Chattanooga Police Department Bomb Squad, Wednesday morning.
According to ERPD Assistant Chief Stan Allen, police were called to the Bennett Avenue school just before 10 a.m. Chief Allen said the “credible threat” necessitated the bomb squad’a response to the scene.
The bomb squad first checked and cleared the school’s cafeteria and gym, Chief Allen said. When nothing was found, the students were taken into those secure areas and the bomb squad swept the rest of the building and found nothing.
Fire Chief Mike Williams said he believed the incident may have been inspired by a similar threat made earlier this week at Ooltewah High School.
“This was on the news and kids talk,” Chief Williams said.
Chief Williams said that he “wanted to take precaution” by asking for the CPD Bomb Squad to sweep the building for any devices.
Authorities said that about 800 students attend both the middle school and East Ridge High School. At about 11 a.m., the students were allowed back into the classroom to resume their day.
More than two dozen cars had congregated at the school when law enforcement and emergency personnel were on the scene. One woman passing by asked “what was going on,” and that her daughter attended school there.
Law enforcement were not aware if the administration of the school were allowing concerned parents to take their children home early as a result of the threat.