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D.C. Police, Schools Taking Precautions After Bomb Threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police officers were dispatched Friday to all 147 District public schools in response to an Internet bomb threat that said five devices had been planted at five schools.

The message — which was received shortly before 6 a.m — did not specify which schools may be involved, Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Joe Gentile said.

"As a precautionary measure, we have directed each district commander to send officers to every school within their district to work with school security and maintenance and search the schools," he said.

"It's being handled as a local, one-time prank, and students are being kept inside under the shelter in place policy," DCPS spokeswoman Prenell Neeley told the Associated Press. "We're following the lead of police. According to Neeley, police were conducting walk throughs of the buildings to determine whether anything looked suspicious or out of place."

At Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School on 21st Street in Northwest, a single officer was at the school shortly after 9:30 a.m., as parents dropped their children off for the start of the school day.

Gentile said it wasn't clear whether evacuations would be necessary. He said bomb-sniffing dogs would be used if needed, and that other agencies — including the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Capitol Police — were ready to assist.

Government leaders responded cautiously to the threat.

"We don't know much right now," said Tony Bullock, spokesman for D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams. "It's likely to be a prank, but right now you have to assume that it's not."

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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