March 20, 2003 – To the intense frustration of their teachers, hundreds of Addelita Cancryn Junior High School students marched from the school to the Joseph Aubain Ball Park in Frenchtown on Thursday morning after the school's second bomb threat in two days.
Shortly after the phone threat came in at about 9 a.m., the students dispersed to the ballpark and the athletic field west of the school. Principal Yvonne Pilgrim stood, accompanied by a policewoman, at the school's entrance, motioning off incoming traffic while awaiting the arrival of the Fire Service.
Still holding the bullhorn she had used to direct the students, Pilgrim appeared calm, but her exasperation was evident. "I hope we'll be able to resolve this issue. It creates such disruption."
And it's youngsters who are responsible, according to Pilgrim. "It's definitely the kids," she said, adding it is probably students who are not in school.
"We were the last one this time," she said. "Most of the other secondary schools have already had bomb scares." But, she added, "we can't take the risk; we have to evacuate."
Pilgrim is no stranger to bomb threats. After four threats in three days in November 2001, the procedure has become routine for the Cancryn principal and for the almost 1,000 students whose minds have effectively been taken from the classroom to the adventure outside.
History teacher Lorna Daniel accompanied the students heading for the ball park. Shaking her head, she said, "It's something in the air, a heightened sensitivity." Remarking on the general unrest over the war in Iraq, Daniel said, "The same thing happened last time after Sept. 11 — they use the occasion." The last series of threats occurred almost exactly two months after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the mainland.
Several teachers expressed their annoyance Thursday. Standing in front of the Frenchtown Community Center, a short distance from the school, one teacher lamented, "Just when things were going so well — we don't need to be going through this nonsense again." Another teacher said, "We need to be studying for exams right now." She said when the students return to the classroom, they are agitated and preoccupied with the event, making it impossible to concentrate on their school work.
"This morning my homeroom went so good," another teacher said, "and the saddest part is whoever is doing this doesn't care about the students."
Deputy Police Chief Theodore Carty said units had been sent to the school. "It's the normal procedure," he said. "They know what to do." He confirmed that threats had occurred at Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean high schools earlier in the school year.
He declined speculation on who is responsible. "It could be the kids, but we don't know, so I'm not going to speculate," he said.
A little after 10 a.m., the Frenchtown streets were once again filled with the by-now boisterous students, as they filed back to school after getting the all-clear.

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