Written threat at Wewa Elementary School under investigation

Students were evacuated from Wewahitchka Elementary School at around 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28 after a written threat was discovered in a school restroom.

Gulf County Sheriff Mike Harrison said that the school was deemed safe at around  3 p.m. after a thurough search of the campus was completed.

This is the second threat discovered at the institution this school year. In December,  GCSO responded to a written bomb threat that was also left in a school bathroom.

Two written threats were made at Wewahitchka Hich School in February and May of 2021. 

“This is happening too often,” Harrison said. “And we’re going to keep telling parents to let their kids know, you know, this is not a game.  This is real life.  Criminal charges will come out of this if we can identify who did it.”

“I hate to say that, but this is a disruption of the school day. This is a tremendous drain of resources for the county, and we take it very seriously.”

Gulf District Schools Superintendent Jim Norton said that the note, which read “school will get on fire at 1:00,” was discovered by a school resource deputy, who then brought it to the attention of the principal and the sheriff’s office.

“We have to treat every one of these things like it’s real, even though we realize these are kids,” he said. 

“We evacuated our kids orderly and sent them over the the high school gymnasium, then dismissed them an hour early, the school day.”

The Gulf County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in searching the campus by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, who brought their K-9s trained to detect explosive materials.

School will resume as normal on Monday.

This report will be updated as more details become available.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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