- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 7, 2003

A program to help school administrators and state and local law-enforcement officials better prepare for bomb threats in schools was presented yesterday in the District by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“We wish bomb-threat response plans were not necessary,” said Bradley A. Buckles, the ATF’s acting director. “Unfortunately, we know it is almost inevitable that schools will receive bomb threats and will need a plan for dealing with them.”

The U.S. Education Department helped develop the program, which features the interactive CD-ROM “Bomb Threat Response: An Interactive Planning Tool For Schools” and includes staff-training presentations and implementation resources. It was showcased yesterday at the Francis Junior High School in Northwest.

The ATF will distribute the CD-ROM to state and local law enforcement agencies and other first responders. The Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools will handle distribution to public school systems throughout the country.

“This CD is a user-friendly tool that will help school administrators and law-enforcement and public-safety officials protect our most valuable resource: our children,” Mr. Buckles said.

ATF spokesman Andrew L. Lluberes said the program delivers content via the CD-ROM, a supporting Web site and quick-reference cards that allow administrators to develop a plan for their schools. He also said it draws on ATF’s knowledge of explosives incidents and the Education Department’s understanding of schools.

Program topics include understanding bomb threats, prevention, planning, bomb-threat response, explosion response, follow-up and training aids.

Mr. Lluberes said bomb threats cost the country’s education system millions of dollars a year in lost classroom time and in salaries for emergency responders.In the six months after the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, U.S. schools received 5,000 bomb threats, according to the National School Safety Center.

For more information go to the Web site: www.threatplan.org.

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