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Pine Plains high school evacuated due to bomb hoax

PINE PLAINS — A note stating “bomb in school” prompted an evacuation of the Stissing Mountain Middle/High School roughly an hour after classes started on Monday, Nov. 7.The note was found in a bathroom.Once the students were safely evacuated, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and K-9 units thoroughly searched the school, then cleared the building for re-entry at approximately 10:16 a.m.“Although we believed the threat to be a hoax, we are required to follow the building safety plan protocols and evacuate the building,” said a written statement released by the district shortly after the incident ended. “At no time during this process was there danger to students, faculty or staff.”Classes were promptly resumed on an accelerated schedule.“It’s very important for the school community to know that it’s a criminal act to make a bomb threat in a public school,” Superintendent Linda Kaumeyer said. “It’s not a laughing matter.According to the Dutchess County District Attorney’s office, the maximum sentence for falsely reporting an incident in the second degree, a Class E felony, is four years in a state prison.“We take these hoaxes very seriously,” Kaumeyer said.She noted that if the perpetrator is found to be a minor, law enforcement can collect the fines from the minor’s parents or guardians.Board of Education President Bruce Kimball said the evacuation procedures have been in place at the school for a number of years and are regularly practiced.“We take it very, very seriously,” he said.Kimball said that besides disrupting the school district and the classes, these types of hoaxes cost a lot of time and money from both the district and the law enforcement teams that respond to the threat.The incident is still under investigation. Anyone with further information is asked to contact the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Amenia substation at 845-373-4300.

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