Threat of pipe bomb deemed not credible after CMS elementary school evacuated, police say

CHARLOTTE — A south Charlotte elementary school was evacuated for a pipe bomb threat Friday afternoon, the district told Channel 9.

All students and staff were evacuated from Pinewood Elementary School around 2:30 p.m. as a result of the threat, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said they have no evidence to believe the threat was credible and nothing suspicious was found during a search of the school.

The students were taken to the Office Depot at 5107 South Boulevard. Students were then picked up or dismissed by bus from there, CMS said. The Office Depot and the school are nearly a mile apart.

Quanevia Barksdale said her twin girls are in kindergarten at Pinewood Elementary School. The young girls said they were told a bomb was in the school before they were swiftly evacuated.

“The t-shirt that they are in is what they walked up the street with,” Barksdale told Channel 9′s Jonathan Lowe. “They were told inside the classrooms, ‘Do not grab anything, drop everything, hold hands and let’s go.’”

In a message to families, CMS said students wouldn’t be able to retrieve belongings left at the school until Monday.

Chopper 9 Skyzoom could see police cars in front of the school, along with a fire engine. At the Office Depot, more than 100 kids could be seen sitting in lines outside the building.

“Some of the older kids that look like they’re about in the 4th or the 3rd grade, they’re crying,” Barksdale said. “Children are being walked away by the parents in tears right now.”

The chaos occurred as parents like Barksdale were arriving to pick their kids up and start the weekend.

“There was police officers everywhere, caution tape all over the place, parents lined up in places they weren’t normally lined up in and that’s when I started seeing parents crying,” she said.

According to Barksdale, parents had not received any information yet from school staff. Many of them had no idea why police were swarming the campus, helicopters were overhead and their kids weren’t at the school.

CMS officials said whoever was responsible for the threat would be held accountable.

Parents told Channel 9 they are thankful the school responded fast and with a focus on student safety, but also questioned the evacuation procedures after kids sat for hours in the cold.

“I understand why they had to move so rapidly, I’m not happy with the drop off spot, its freezing cold outside and they’re on the ground, I would have preferred they had their hats, their coats, their gloves,” Barksdale said.

CMS sent this messages to families:

“Hello Pinewood Elementary families. This is Principal Pegram with an important message. This afternoon our school received a bomb threat. Out of an abundance of caution, all students and staff have been evacuated to Office Depot located at 5107 South Blvd. School officials are working closely with law enforcement to provide complete support and help in any way possible.

“Parents and families of car riders will need to pick up their children from the Office Depot, and bus riders will be dismissed from the same location.

“Law enforcement will continue its investigation of the campus and buildings. The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.

“All threats and school disruptions are in violation of the CMS Code of Student Conduct and those involved will be disciplined accordingly. Where warranted, law enforcement pursues legal action as well.

“Thank you for your continued support of Pinewood Elementary.”

CMS’ second message to families:

“Hello Pinewood Elementary families. This is Principal Pegram with an important update. Earlier today you received notice of a bomb threat against our campus. Law enforcement was immediately contacted and after a sweep of the campus and buildings did not find any suspicious device.

“Parents and families may retrieve their student’s belongings from campus when they return to school on Monday. Thank you for your cooperation and patience and continued support of Pinewood Elementary. Have a great weekend.”

(WATCH BELOW: Threats at numerous North Carolina schools Thursday found ‘not credible’)