Bomb Threat Leads To Lockdown At Rice Memorial High School

Oct 24, 2017

Police conducted a sweep of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington Tuesday morning using bomb detection dogs from the Transportation Security Administration after a bomb threat was called in to South Burlington Police.

According to a statement from police around 9:15 a.m., the threat does not appear credible.

More than 10 law enforcement vehicles were parked outside Rice Memorial High School Tuesday morning, and that number began falling at around 9:40 a.m. as police left the scene. Three Transportation Security Administration trucks, used to bring K-9 units to the scene, remained at the school.

Tammy McKenna is the mother of a freshman at Rice Memorial High School. She drove to the school to drop off poster board for her daughter.

"I left my house in Colchester and en route I got a text from my daughter Emma that they were on lockdown and that I probably wouldn't be able to get in with the poster board," she said.

Since she was already on the way, McKenna went to Rice.

"When I pulled up there were no less than 15 police officers here," McKenna said. "Police cars, undercover cars, and I came in behind three homeland security K-9 unit trucks. So that's a little disconcerting as a parent at a private school."

Bomb-sniffing dogs from the Transportation Security Administration assisted South Burlington Police after a bomb threat against Rice Memorial High School Tuesday.
Credit Taylor Dobbs / VPR

McKenna stayed outside the school and watched the police response.

"I was sitting here and I watched them bring three different backpacks out where they had the dogs sniff each backpack, and those backpacks were placed in the police officer's car," she said. "And then they let the dogs do their business, and then they took them in to start sniffing the school."

McKenna appeared calm and laughed along with her younger daughter, who was along for the ride. Still, she said, the lockdown is a reminder that the world has changed since she was in school.

"I feel like they've contained the area. Of course as a parent, given what's happening in the world today, of course I'm worried. But I feel like their response time was adequate, and the media wasn't all here so that's good," McKenna said, noting that she thinks news reports about the lockdown are important "because I think people should realize it's happening not just at public schools and public universities but private schools. It's something for us all to be concerned about. It's the way of the world now, and it's not something we grew up having to deal with."