Bomb threat prompts evacuation at Tibbetts

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Police Department units block the entrance to Tibbetts Middle School in Farmington after a bomb threat was reported at the school on Monday afternoon.

FARMINGTON — A bomb threat prompted students and staff to evacuate Tibbetts Middle School on Monday afternoon.

The San Juan County Communications Authority received a call from Vice Principal Charles Trujillo at 1:26 p.m. after a student found graffiti in the men's bathroom that stated a bomb was going to detonate in the school at 1:55 p.m. Monday, said Farmington police spokeswoman Georgette Allen.

Students and staff evacuated the building to the school's football field. They were allowed to return to the building at about 2:15 p.m. after the bomb squad conducted a search of the building and did not find anything suspicious, according to Farmington Sgt. Kenneth Raybon.

Tibbetts Principal Tammie Hansen said police were contacted immediately after the student reported the graffiti. She said staff followed procedure to evacuate students to the football field on the west side of the building.

“The faculty and students at Tibbetts, they just followed through perfectly. The building was emptied in probably less than a minute,” Hansen said. “The students were well behaved, and the teachers took accountability. It work like clockwork. For me, that’s good to know.”

Hansen said about 590 students are enrolled at the school, which includes sixth through ninth grades.

Officers guarding entrances to the school turned away parents who tried to pick up students while the school was evacuated. Some parents parked along Twin Peaks Boulevard, west of the school, and waited for police to allow them on campus.

Ladonna Johnson said she was trying to pick her son, Uriaah Yazzie, when officers told her to turn around because the school had been evacuated. Johnson said she was trying to check her son out of school early because Monday was his birthday.

“I turned around and tried to call the school and main offices. I couldn’t talk to anyone,” Johnson said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I was crying, and there was all sorts of things going through my head.”

Allen said the investigation into the bomb threat is ongoing.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.