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'Threat' reported at Bel Air's Southampton Middle, students evacuated, then returned

A bus brings students back to Southampton Middle School early Monday afternoon, following a phoned in bomb threat that forced evacuation of the building. The students and staff went to a nearby church, while police investigated. The threat was deemed "non-credible," according to a Harford County Public Schools spokesperson.
A bus brings students back to Southampton Middle School early Monday afternoon, following a phoned in bomb threat that forced evacuation of the building. The students and staff went to a nearby church, while police investigated. The threat was deemed "non-credible," according to a Harford County Public Schools spokesperson. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

Students at Southampton Middle School near Bel Air were evacuated to a nearby church Monday morning while law enforcement investigated a bomb threat, the Harford County Sheriff's Office and Harford County Public Schools reported.

The students were all returned to the school shortly after noon, Cristie Kahler, a spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, said.

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"Southampton Middle School received a bomb threat by phone this morning," HCPS Manager for Communications Jillian Lader, said via email shortly after noon.

"As a precaution, students and staff were immediately evacuated per our evacuation plan, and law enforcement was notified," Lader continued. " Students remain safe at this time while the investigation is taking place."

"As we must take all threats seriously, students will remain evacuated until law enforcement gives the all clear for students to return," she wrote. "Once the investigation concludes and students are returned to their classrooms, we will notify the school community."

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the source of "a threat to school safety and operations," according to a post on social media at 11:45 a.m.

"All students have been safely evacuated to St. Matthew's Church," the Sheriff's Office wrote. "Once the building has been scanned and deemed safe, students will be able to return to class."

Lader also said the threat had been deemed "non-credible" by law enforcement and "students and staff have returned to Southampton Middle School."

The school is in the 1200 block of Moores Mill Road. The church is about 0.7 miles from the school on Moores Mill Road at Route 22.

Kahler said the threat was phoned in to school at 10:47 a.m. As of late Monday afternoon, she said the source of the call was still under investigation.

Roadblocks were set up along Moores Mill Road while students were transported from the church back to the school.

The school has 1,256 students and 100 teachers, according to the Harford County Public Schools website.

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