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Monday, January 30, 2023



Nov. 7, 2001 – For the second day in row, 500 Addelita Cancryn Junior High School students found themselves in the bleachers of Joseph Aubain Ball Park in Frenchtown instead of in their classrooms, while as many others were directed to the school athletic field after the school received another telephoned bomb threat about 8 a.m.
A similar bomb threat on Tuesday emptied the school at about the same time.
Clutching her umbrella under dark and threatening skies, Principal Yvonne Pilgrim was hurrying from the school to the nearby Frenchtown Community Center, and then to the ballpark. She was making arrangements for the asthmatic and disabled students to go to the center.
"The Headstart kids from the school in back are coming over, too," said Gladys Lake, project director of the senior citizens program at the center. She said the youngsters would get a warm welcome from the seniors: "They'll greet them with open arms. They'll be wonderful mothers and grandmothers to all the kids."
The Headstart school is located so close to Cancryn that it had to be evacuated, too, Lake explained.
A teacher who declined to be identified sat at the center thoroughly disgusted. "I just can't take it," she said. "Yesterday we roasted for over two hours – at least today I've got a little shade." She said the school lunches were late arriving Tuesday because of the scare, and then the power went out. "And now again," she said.
When Pilgrim finally had time to speak on the way back from the ball park, she managed a smile. "You should go down there," she said. "The kids are singing now."
Pilgrim, the teachers, the students, Fire Services officials, police bomb squad personnel and Assistant Principal Selassie Francis were aghast that such a thing could happen two days in a row. Shaking his head, Fire Services Deputy Inspector Richard Lindo said, "Unfortunately, I can believe it. The people who do this want to see it happen — see the evacuation. The government has to find them and take them to court."
He added, "I think they're working their way into town now."
There were earlier scares this school year at Ivanna Eudora Kean and Charlotte Amalie High Schools on St. Thomas and Guy Benjamin Elementary School on St. John, as well as telephoned threats of bombs at local hotels. A suspect was apprehended in September after a bomb threat at the Hovensa Refinery on St. Croix. No bombs have been found at any sites.
Lindo was directing foot and vehicle traffic away from the school grounds as he welcomed the arrival of the bomb squad around 8:25 a.m. One squad member simply shook his head at Lindo as he drove in. A sign near the school entrance reads: "Generosity – a character education principle." Perhaps the perpetrator of the threat took the sign literally, someone commented.
Following the school's crisis management plan, the students were once again separated itno two groups — 500 going to the ball park, and 500 to the athletic field at the west end of the school campus, Francis said. He once again was overseeing the youngsters at the ball park. "Back up the ramp — you have to be in the bleachers," was his refrain to the restless students who wanted to be anywhere but there. Cody Connor, an eighth grader, said, "I feel pretty bad I can't go to school." Another student put it more bluntly: "I feel dumb and I want to go home. This is boring."
Francis said the students were singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the "Virgin Islands March" to keep their spirits up. "I just can't believe it," he said. "This is ridiculous."
Deputy Police Chief Theodore Carty said the school was opened again about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He said police have no leads on who is responsible for the threats. "They call from a pay phone to 911, or they call the school directly," he said, which makes the calls extremely difficult to trace.

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