San Clemente High School Bus Drivers: Unsung Heroes of the Bomb Scare
As you may have previously read, an empty bomb threat on the first day of school at San Clemente High School drew a response from the FBI, the Navy, the Marines, U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Orange County Sheriff's Department, a regional counter-terrorism team, the Capistrano Unified School District, a regional school team called SMART and the sheriff's SWAT team and bomb squad. So, who knew the unsung heroes of the day were school bus drivers?
That's what it says on the Interwebs so it must be true, no? School Transportation News reports that "school buses once again accelerated into action to help in the evacuation of thousands of local students on the first day of school."
A transit-style school bus and two special needs buses were dispatched to the school on Sept. 6, when chaos reigned as a bomb or bombs were being searched for on campus while 3,200 students and 180 staffers were being evacuated first to the football field and later into the cooler gymnasium.
All the news, emergency and parental vehicles that responded to San Clemente High, coupled with streets near there being blocked up, backed up traffic into town. That was preventing the buses from reaching the school, so a call was dispatched to cancel them.
But Mike Patton, Capo Valley's transportation director, figured the buses were on the way anyway so he overruled the cancellation. His drivers pressed on, and in no time special needs students were later loaded into the short buses, while the larger transporter returned students who are bussed back and forth from Camp Pendleton.
The Marine base, of course, is where the bomb threat against the school was said to have been found, in a journal in the barracks of corpsman Daniel Morgan, who remains in base custody.
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