29 October 2020

Police investigate bomb hoax at Yass, Bomaderry and Bowral schools

| Hannah Sparks
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Bowral High School

Students were sitting HSC exams at Bowral High School when the bomb hoax occurred. Photo: Supplied.

Police are continuing to investigate a bomb hoax on 10 schools in regional NSW including Yass High, Bomaderry High and Bowral High where HSC students were sitting exams on Wednesday morning (28 October).

Officers attended Yass High School this morning during their weekly Breakfast Club initiative. However, they were also there to provide a police presence following the threatening email, said Sergeant David Cowell of Yass Police Station.

The school’s HSC students weren’t affected by the threat as they are completing their exams this year in the Yass Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, which is located away from the school on the town’s main street.

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The school’s other students were evacuated to a nearby oval where they remained for an hour.

Yass High School principal Linda Langton said the students were calm as they were expecting a drill that week and thought the evacuation was part of the drill.

NSW Police has launched Strike Force Rolum to investigate the bomb hoax which was also sent to 20 Sydney schools a day earlier on Tuesday.

The email indicates that a device has been located at the schools and police believe the emails were sent from the same location, said Detective Superintendent Matt Craft from the Cyber Crime Squad.

Yass High School

Yass High School. Photo: website

Local officers conducted extensive searches at each of the schools but no items of interest were located.

Schools enacted their emergency response plans, disrupting around 300 HSC students taking part in biology exams across the 30 impacted schools, said Mark Scott from the NSW Department of Education.

He said the NSW Education Standards Authority had ‘misadventure provisions’ for situations such as the bomb hoax and that “no student will be disadvantaged” from completing their exams.

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Superintendent Craft said some students may not be evacuated from exams in the event of another threatening email in a bid to reduce disruption to the HSC.

He said police believe the emails were sent intentionally to disrupt the HSC but that each email would be “assessed on a case-by-case basis”.

Police Minister David Elliott said whoever was behind the emails could face up to 10 years in prison.

“It certainly takes a small and demented mind to interrupt HSC students after a traumatic year during a pandemic when the nation is at a hyper state of alert in terrorism,” Mr Elliott said. “We’re not going to muck around with this.”

Superintendent Craft called on anyone who may have information about the emails to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

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