F. W. Buchholz High School students and faculty evacuated to the nearby Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County Thursday morning after the third bomb threat in a month.
The first happened Feb. 8 and the second on Tuesday.
Principal Vince Perez said his office received Thursday’s threat after 9 a.m. and that he and other officials ushered students immediately to the Boys & Girls Club.
“We can’t take any risks on the campus,” Perez said. “We always treat it as a real threat.”
Students and staff remained there all day, missing school.
“They are frustrated with it,” Perez said. “They want to be in school just like I want them to be.”
The students and faculty waited for the Alachua County Sherriff’s Office to clear the school of explosive devices. No unauthorized person or vehicle was allowed to enter or leave the school property until the campus was cleared.
“We send out messages to parents through social media,” Perez said. “I just want to assure parents that their kids are safe — while they’re here, they are safe.”
Perez said it was stressful to remain at the club instead of campus.
“When you have 2,000 students,” he said, “it’s hard to stay on top of everything and make sure parents are checking their children out correctly. We have to be vigilant.”
Without access to the cafeteria, other schools sent food for lunch. Some students also had pizza and sandwiches delivered.
James Young, a minister at Compassionate Outreach Ministries in Gainesville, came to pick up his 15-year-old son, Thomas, after being notified by the school of the situation.
“We used to not have to worry about things like this,” Young said. “We never thought about having police on campus. We just felt secure.”
Young said he wants his son to be vigilant and aware.
“We are living in perilous times,” he said. “You have got to be prepared.”
The atmosphere in the waiting area was quiet as parents filed in and out to pick up their children.
Libby Shaw, a senior, said she is not scared anymore, and she doesn’t know others who are, either.
“This first (bomb threat) was scary because we didn’t know what was going on,” Shaw said. “We all had to go to separate places. But now we all come (to the Boys & Girls Club), and we know as soon as the announcement comes on where we’re going.”