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Four FCPS schools evacuated after bomb threats, ransom demand

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 12:48 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Tuesday night the all clear has been given at four Fayette County high schools after bomb threats forced district officials to evacuate the buildings.

Threats were made to Frederick Douglass, Henry Clay, Lafayette, and Paul Laurence Dunbar high schools.

Fayette County Public Schools said just after noon, a call to the district’s tip line made the threat and demanded a ransom of $500,000 in Bitcoin by 12:30. The district quickly got 10,000 students and staff out as authorities searched the buildings.

It was the concerning alert that no parent wants to get.

Law enforcement swarmed four of Fayette County’s high schools after the district was threatened with a bomb, and had just minutes to respond to the demand.

“It was kind of like a normal day, and then third period hits us and all of a sudden we think it’s a fire drill,” said Preston Howard, a sophomore at Frederick Douglass. “But we were out here longer than normal, and everyone starts to panic a little bit. Then all of a sudden we start going over to the football field.”

Not longer after, parents started to show up to sign their teen out and get them home, not knowing what was going on.

“We take it seriously. I wouldn’t say it’s an aggravation. You have to take it seriously,” said Margaret Readdy, a Henry Clay parent.

All students are home safe, and now the district and law enforcement are turning their full attention to who made the threats.

“At this point it’s really, really early in that investigation. Our efforts to this point was the safety of those on our campuses. Like I said, that went very smoothly. Now we’re turning our time, attention, and efforts to the investigation,” FCPS Police Chief Martin Schafer said.

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The district plans to have students back in all of the buildings Wednesday pending any further threats. There won’t be extra security, though. Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins said measures are already in place every day.

“We have no reason to believe that will be necessary. We do have several security measures already in place on a day-to-day basis. As we’re aware, we have our own police force that is highly visible at all our campuses,” Dr. Liggins said.

Lexington police, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, ATF, FBI and the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security are all working with FCPS Police on the investigation.

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