Project sparks evacuation at Grand Rapids school

Students evacuated from CA Frost Middle High School in Grand Rapids after several Molotov cocktails were found in a locker on Feb. 15, 2018.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — School officials say a World War I project sparked an evacuation at a Grand Rapids school Thursday morning.

Around 11 a.m., a student told staff of suspicious items inside a locker at C.A. Frost Middle High School at 1417 Covell Ave. NW. The items were believed to be three Molotov cocktails.

Students were in third period when the principal got on the PA and told everyone to evacuate. Around 300 students were taken to a nearby church as a precaution.

“It was just really scary,” said Alicia Corvette, a 10th-grader at the school. “Everyone was crying because we didn’t know what to do. We just never would’ve thought something like this would happen.”

Grand Rapids Public Schools spokesperson John Helmholt said the items were actually part of a War World I school project showing the changes in warfare technology. The bottles were filled with water, not gasoline.

Unfortunately, the teacher who assigned the project and the student were out sick. Officers went to the student’s home near Fuller Park on the city’s northeast side to speak with him.

But some parents say they were never notified by the school. They said they learned about the threat from the news or their kids.

“My sister called me and she saw on the news,” one mom said. “I just left work and came up here. One of the mothers told me she wasn’t sure if it was really going on. Her daughter called her she didn’t know if there was really a bomb or what.”

GRPS says it sent two robocalls: One at noon and the second at 12:40 p.m.

A spokesperson for the district explained that the first call only went to parents who registered their number and agreed to receive the calls. However, the second call should have reached all parents. GRPS says this is a good time to make sure your phone numbers are current and that both mom and dad’s numbers are registered.

The district is investigating to see if there was any error in the alert system.

To make sure your phone number is in the system, you can call the main number for the district.