Threat received at numerous schools statewide; incident still under investigation by DSP

A phoned-in threat to an area school lead to a brief lockdown on Monday morning, as officials determined the building’s safety.

Red Clay Consolidated School District Superintendent Mervin Daugherty and district supervisor of public safety Brian Moore confirmed that H. B. DuPont Middle School in Hockessin was on lockdown for roughly 90 minutes following a threat received earlier that morning.

The lockdown came following a message received by the school, and at least four others throughout the state, according to the Delaware State Police.

The four schools affected are: DuPont Middle School, Caesar Rodney High School in Camden; Indian River High School in Dagsboro; and Seaford Middle School in Seaford.

State police confirmed that the threats were made via phone in a manner meant to disguise the caller's voice. The calls went directly to the schools named above.

According to Moore, the message was altered to sound like a “computer generated” voice alleging a “threat” to the school.

Moore said that students remained in place during the lockdown procedure, which prevents all unauthorized individuals from entering the building.

Moore said that Delaware State Police K-9 units swept the building, and determined that there was no threat.

“By the time the dog arrived, it took about 30 minutes for them to check the whole building,” Moore said.

Daugherty praised the efforts of school officials and the teachers, students and parents affected by the brief lockdown.

“The school district did everything it was supposed to do to be able to make sure everyone was safe,” he said. “When you practice and implement (these procedures), and everyone did what they were supposed to, it’s outstanding.

Parents were notified of the lockdown through the district’s alert call system. Daugherty said that barring a few inquiries, parents behaved respectfully during the incident.

Daugherty said that school continued "business as usual" throughout the lockdown.

State police said that several of the threatened schools conducted a full evacuation,  including Smyrna Elementary School, which was evacuated after receiving the threat, and the Caesar Rodney School District.

State police are currently investigating the situation, along with the Dover Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, and Milford Police Department, for similar incidents that occurred at schools within their jurisdictions.

Details will be updated as they emerge.