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Threat Disrupts School
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No one was injured, no bomb was found, but students at El Portal Middle School got a little time out of class on Thursday morning, May 5. A bomb threat called in to the school was reported to the police department just after 8:15 a.m., said Escalon Police Chief Jim Shaw.

"It went into the school itself, the call didn't come through the police but five officers including myself responded," Shaw said. "We met with the school superintendent, the school principal and his staff."

Students were just arriving for the school day and were quickly ushered onto the athletic fields behind the school buildings as a precautionary measure.

"We did an evaluation, assessing the level of the threat," Shaw explained.

Officials decided to also do a 'sweep' of the campus and buildings.

"Anything that looked out of place, we took note of," said Shaw. "It took us about an hour, an hour and 15 minutes to do the search."

Officers were assisted by school administrators and personnel and turned up no bomb, no problems in any of the classrooms.

School District Superintendent Ron Costa said the threat was treated as a serious incident, and all school protocols were put in place.

"I was very impressed with the way that the staff put their plan into motion," Costa said of the evacuation and emergency procedures that got the students out of harm's way quickly.

"I was at the campus within five minutes of the call, the staff had already stepped up and taken care of everything," he noted.

Helping coordinate the effort on campus was Principal Mark Vos.

Costa also commended the police department for taking the lead and organizing the sweep of the school. The incident resulted in a minor delay of the start to the school day, but nothing more.

"Students were out of class until about 9:15 a.m.," said Costa. "At no time was there a student that was in danger."

Parents were notified of the incident, many learning about it as they arrived to drop their children off for the day.

Officials did not release details on the call other than to say that it remains under investigation.

"I really commend the staff for making student safety a priority," Costa said, "and the Escalon Police Department in working so cooperatively with the school district."