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Schools Evacuated in Bomb Hoax

September 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

A bomb hoax prompted the evacuation of the Santa Paula Elementary School District on Tuesday, with thousands of students moved onto athletic fields or off campus.

All seven schools, the administration building and support facilities for the Ventura County district were emptied until teams of experts using bomb-sniffing dogs could check them, Supt. Luis C. Villegas said.

"All our kids are safe," Villegas said. "We don't believe there was any bomb at all."

Some campuses were cleared in three or four hours but the larger schools were shut until afternoon, by which time regularly scheduled classes were over.

A full evacuation was called after officials played a phone message about 7 a.m. Tuesday.

"About 5:35 or so [Monday] night, a person called our district office and left an office voice mail saying there is a bomb in the district and it would go off at 10 o'clock this morning," Villegas said.

"The caller didn't say specifically where the bomb is."

About 4,000 students -- ranging from preschoolers to eighth-graders -- and about 500 faculty members and district employees were evacuated.

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