LIMA — Book bag restrictions at Lima Senior High School will be lifted when school starts next month, two school years removed from a series of bomb threats that caused havoc for the district.
After four bomb threats in three weeks time in the spring of 2012, Lima Senior changed its book bag policy. The school first banned all book bags, leading to a student protest.
Students were then only permitted to carry clear book bags throughout the school day. All other book bags had to be kept in lockers. Every bag was searched as students entered the building at the beginning of the day. The search remained the rest of that school year.
Principal Doug Kent said he believed it is now time to let students go back to carrying solid-colored book bags. The decision comes after much dialogue with students and staff.
“We all agreed that we were two years out and that if a policy is going to change, now we are moving back to one high school, and let’s give the students an opportunity to carry these,” he said.
The district decided last school year to drop the three small schools concept and go back to one school.
Many students did purchase clear book bags, but Kent said they often were not made as well as other book bags. They tend to rip and tear easily, he said.
The 2012 bomb threats caused much concern and forced the district to evacuate the schools after each call. Amanda Hunt was sentenced to four years in prison for calling in false bomb threats to the high school on March 19 and 27 and one to the South Science Technology Magnet School on March 16.
Paul Minor Jr. admitted to calling Lima Senior March 6 and saying a bomb would go off around lunchtime. It closed the school and interrupted Election Day activities at a polling station inside.
While they were frustrated and quickly tired of the evacuations, Kent said students were cooperative and understood why the district had to make changes.
“Their big thing was they wanted this person caught so Lima Senior High School could go back to normal,” he said. “But they understood why we searched and why we went to clear book bags. They were great about the whole thing, but we are two years out now.”