Police clear Athens High School after bomb threat, students plan prayer session this evening


Parents line up at the Athens High School football stadium to check students out from school after a bomb threat. (Dion Hose/WHNT News 19)

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ATHENS, Ala. - Athens Police say they have cleared the Athens High School campus. They stress they did not find a bomb, and all students were allowed to return to campus around midday Wednesday to pick up their vehicles left behind.

Students are also planning to gather tonight in a show of solidarity to pray over the school.  They plan to meet at 8:30 p.m. in the school's parking lot.  If it rains, they plan to meet in the tennis courts.

Several law enforcement agencies helped with the effort to search Athens High School after a bomb threat was called in Wednesday morning.  Athens Police and school staff evacuated everyone from the building at 9 a.m.

Police say a phone call came in -- the voice was distorted and sounded computerized.  It's not clear if it was from a student, or someone in another city or state, investigators said.  They are moving forward to subpoena phone records to get to the bottom of this.

"When we find out who it is, we will prosecute them under the fullest extent of the law. We won't waste any time, no matter who it is," said Trey Holladay, Superintendent of Athens City Schools.

Athens Police, the Huntsville Bomb Squad and other agencies searched the school.

This was the second day police had a presence at the school.  Tuesday, a threat was found on the bathroom wall.  Police say at this time, they don't believe that threat was related to Wednesday's phone call.

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During Wednesday's evacuation, students were moved to the football stadium and parents were contacted to pick up their children.  A long line of traffic quickly formed on U.S. 31, and Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson urged parents to be patient.  At the height of the pickup delay, traffic was backed up from the Athens Recreation Center to U.S. 31 at Hobbs Street.

"It's a slow process but a safe one," Johnson said. "We are trying to direct traffic and need motorists to use caution."

School was cancelled for the rest of the day, but is scheduled to be back in session on Thursday.

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