The principal of a Larne primary school which was targeted in a hoax bomb threat has described the incident as a “senseless act”.
Linn Primary School was evacuated yesterday morning after a malicious phone call was received shortly before 10am.
The local school was one of seven across the province to be targeted in a series of hoax calls, and it is understood an automated system was used to deliver the threat.
Around 400 pupils were given refuge at nearby Craigyhill Presbyterian Church, and parents were asked to come and collect them as the school remained shut for the rest of the day.
But the school has opened its doors as normal this morning, and principal Andrea Duff said there is full attendance from pupils.
“I want to commend the children for the way they handled the situation,” she told the Times.
“They were amazing; there was no tears and everyone was very calm about the whole thing.
“I am also very happy with the systems we had in place to manage this and get the children off site as quickly and safely as possible.
“The members of Craigyhill Presbyterian Church were also incredible. They took us in and made us feel so welcome and there was a real sense of community.”
Speaking about those who perpetrated the hoax, Mrs Duff added: “I just can’t understand why anyone would target primary schools. There is absolutely nothing to gain, other than causing disruption and distress to peoples’ lives.
“When parents send their kids to school, they expect them to be safe and shouldn’t have to worry about this sort of thing.
“The kids have obviously been asking questions about what happened, but we have reassured them that there is nothing to fear.”
Police have said the hoax was part of a series of “malicious communications” made to schools across Northern Ireland. Officers said there had been similar communications in other parts of the UK and police services were working together to establish if there was a link.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “At this stage there is no information to suggest the incidents are terrorist-related, however enquiries continue to establish the facts.”
DUP alderman Gregg McKeen condemned those behind the incident and said: “This has caused major disruption and distress for all those involved.”
Party colleague, East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons, added: “It is utterly appalling that anyone would considering terrorising school children.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs stated: “I unreservedly condemn the series of malicious communications to schools today which includes Linn PS in Craigyhill.”
Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan added: “Something is very wrong with those behind this and there can be no justification for targeting schools.”
READ MORE: Larne school bomb scare ‘utterly appalling’