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Friday, March 30, 2012

Bomb threat at Annandale HS

A police robot checks out the suspicious backpack at AHS [photo from WTTG Morning News]
Update: Officers from the West Springfield Police Station arrested Marco Antonio Verduo Toledo, 19, of 5451 Tilalary Court in Burke this afternoon in connection with the bomb threat at Annandale High School. Toledo, a former student at Annandale, was charged him with felony threats to bomb and criminal trespass, the Fairfax County Police announced.

According to news reports, there were lots of complaints from parents and students about how the situation was handled, and WUSA reported there were fights on one of the buses where students where detained for hours this morning. Eighty-eight percent of students who responded to an online poll by the A-Blast said they were not satisfied with the way FCPS communicated with students and parents during the bomb threat.
Annandale High School students are back in class after police finished a sweep of the building following a bomb threat that had been called into the Channel 7 TV station at 4:35 a.m.

Police responded with multiple assets, including bomb sniffing dogs and robots, said police spokesperson Bud Walker. A suspicious backpack was found outside the school and was removed.

Initially, students were held on their school buses at an offsite location during the investigation, said FCPS spokesperson John Torre. They were later held in the cafeteria and gymnasium while police finished the investigation. The Annandale A-Blast reported the buses were diverted to Braddock Elementary School, while students and teachers already at the school were taken to the Heritage Shopping Center parking lot.

The bus delay at Annandale HS also meant the buses couldnt make their other rounds to pick up students for the other schools in the Annandale pyramid. That meant delays for these schools: Annandale Terrace, Bren Mar Park, Columbia, Holmes, North Springfield, Weyanoke, Braddock, Beech Tree, Belvedere, Bryant, Camelot, Canterbury Woods, Fairhill, Little Run, Parklawn, Pine Spring, Sleepy Hollow, and Poe.

FCPS announced at 11:57 a.m. that the feeder buses have resumed normal operations.


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  2. You always know its a bad sign when you get an automated call saying your child's bus is going to be late (no reason or ETA given) AND you hear a helicopter hovering over your house for an hour. Putting the two things together, you just know something is going on. Luckily no one was hurt. Too bad it seemed so confusing getting the word out to parents.

  3. This incident gives me no confidence in the ability of FCPS to handle a real crisis situation. So many years after Columbine, Sept.11 and Va Tech and this is the way we handle an emergency?

    People need to be held accountable in whichever dept. was making decisions.

    1. Why were the students picked up in the first place? A 4:30 bomb threat was early enough to activate a school closing for AHS, or a 2 hour delay for the Annandale pyramid. That's what the Keep in Touch system is for.

    2. Why weren't the buses told to take the students back to their stops? The walkers and kiss and riders/drivers were told to go home.

    3. If there was some reason to keep the bus students, then why weren't they immed. sent to Jefferson, if that is the emergency site for AHS?

    4. Why weren't bus supervisors immed sent to the holding areas to help, instead of waiting until students were jumping out the emergency doors to get off the bus? What are the bus drivers supposed to do, fight them to keep them on? I don't blame students for escaping.

    5. Do people realize that AHS students are allowed to be dropped off at school starting at 6:45? That means some students are picked up as early as 6:15. These students and bus drivers were held on buses until 10:00. Wouldn't anyone be upset to have this happen to them? With no info as to what was going on!

    6. As early as 7:00 I realized that there was going to be chaos with the other schools' bus schedules. The Poe and Holmes students prob start going out to their stops around 7:00. Some Poe students weren't picked up until after 9:00. Again, no one knew what was going on.

    This whole situation was nothing but a major, major screw-up in decision making, execution and communication!

  4. Keeping the students on the bus may not of been the best decision. As an elementary student parent I felt the communication was extremely effective. I received several communication updates throughout the morning. I received calls at home, on my cell and through email. The communication came from both the FCPS and my child's own school. As far a communication and keeping us informed. A+ FCPS!

  5. On no. 4 I should have written that the Annandale bus supervisors WERE there, but transportation didn't start calling for additional help with the situation until after students were going out the side emergency doors.

  6. ha,ha,ha 35 years later and nothing has changed with the fairfax police or the school system.they have always been a "ACTION" and then a "REACTION" operated department and school system.I will dumb this down for you just in case you are a product of this school system.>bomb goes "KABOOM" >leaders of this system pull heads out of rear ends and looks at each other with the "deer in the head light look" and say's "WHAT THE PHUCK"" was that,leader of group checks his I-phone calander and tell's his minions NOPE by god it aint the 4th of july.another minion happens to notice a big thick cloud black of smoke coming from what use to be annandale high school and say's "yo dude" sumtins wrong wit annandale high school it aint there anymore"and then someones suggests maybe weez needs to plan for something like this, another rolls his eye's "yea right",oh by the way what time we going to happy hour today and someone call and tell the dominoe's guy to hurry,and call Barack back and tell him we need a "beer summit",cuz houston we have a problem.