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Classes Cancelled at Iowa City Catholic School after Bomb Threat

Gregg Hennigan, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA

School Bomb ThreatUPDATE: Classes have been cancelled for the day after someone called Regina Junior/Senior High School twice Monday morning and threatened to "blow up" the building, school President and CEO Lee Iben said.

That prompted the evacuation of the entire Regina Catholic Education Center, 2140 Rochester Ave., which includes grades pre-K through 12. For more information on picking up children, see the bottom of this story.

All of the approximately 850 students, plus faculty and staff, are safe, Iben said. The students were taken to the school's safe zone, the location of which he did not want to disclose because of the unknown legitimacy of the threat.

A police officer is at the safe zone, a nearby church, with the children and teachers, said Iowa City Police Sgt. Denise Brotherton.

The school year started last Thursday.

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University of Iowa police bomb-sniffing dogs are on the scene, Brotherton said.

The first call came to the junior/senior high office at about 8:56 a.m., Brotherton said. It was a male voice, but it wasn't clear if the person was an adult, she said. Investigators will listen to the 911 call and talk with staff to get more information, she said.

Classes started at the school at 8:15 a.m. Monday.

Iben said there were two calls, and it sounded like the same person each time. The person said "they were going to blow up the building," Iben said.

School officials promptly called 911, he said.

After picking up her third-grade daughter, Rachel Santos downplayed the bomb threat.

"You know what? Some parents are really worked up, but I'm low key about it," she said. "The kids are safe and it's a beautiful day."

"I think for the most part in this type of situation, the communication was sound and the instructions on what to do were clear," said parent Greg Duethman, who was picking up his 17-year-old. "I know there are parents upset that they had to wait here and everything, but it's one of those things where fortunately, this kind of thing doesn't happen very often, but I think the main thing is that they got everyone out of the building quickly."

SCHOOL CANCELLATION:

K-12 students are at First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Ave.

Parents with last names starting with A-L are asked to pick up their children beginning at 10:15 a.m. Parents with last names M-Z should get their kids starting at 10:45 a.m.

Go to the driveway at the north entrance from Mt. Vernon Drive and leave from the south. Do not come to the doors; students will be brought to the vehicles.

Preschoolers are at MidWestOne Bank at 2233 Rochester Ave. Pick up for them will start at 10:15 a.m.

Hayley Bruce contributed to this report. ___

(c)2012 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Visit The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) at thegazette.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Classes Cancelled at Iowa City Catholic School after Bomb Threat