The Kansas city of Pratt is reeling after learning that the entire school district had to be evacuated on account of a bomb hoax orchestrated by one of their own employees. 32-year-old Claudia Rodriguez-Oviedo, who had been employed as a secretary for Southwest Elementary School, has been arrested and charged with felony counts of aggravated criminal threat and the unlawful use of computers.
According to officials, Pratt High School received the bomb threat through a fictitious email on the morning of November 6, 2017. Det. Jeff Ward said in a press release, “In response, school administrators contacted officers of the Pratt Police Department and began planning for the evacuation of school students and staff and the cancellation of school events.” All schools within the district were closed and after-school activities were canceled while police investigated the threat.
No devices were found within any of the USD 382 schools. Rodriguez-Oviedo was arrested on the morning of November 8, 2017, after the email was allegedly connected to the former secretary and the district reopened that same morning after police determined that it was safe to do so.
Pratt USD 382 also followed up with a statement posted to their Facebook page assuring parents, “Our top priority is safety, and we will never waiver from that focus. Our schools are wonderful places for kids to learn and grow. I’m happy to report we can continue to provide a topnotch education for them.”
Police are still considering the bomb threat an active investigation at this time and a motive behind the hoax is still unknown.