By CANDIE BECK

LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER

A high-stakes game of show-and-tell resulted in students at Conway High School-East being evacuated Wednesday morning following the discovery of a World War II hand grenade by a teacher. 

The device, which was brought to the school by a student wishing to show the historic item to the teacher, was warm to the touch when examined, causing school officials to question whether the gernade was active or not. 

Following school district protocol, officials at the school notified authorities of the situation while evacuating the building that had the device in it and placing the remainder of the campus on lock down. Conway fire and police departments responded to the scene to assist with the situation. Members of the bomb squad went inside the school to retrieve the device, while students waited outside, some checking out for the day with parents being advised they could come get their children.

Sophomore Krystal Travis said she was waiting for her father to pick her up as the ordeal had left her with some anxiety.

"I called my dad to come and get me," she said. "This stuff doesn’t usually happen here and it makes me nervous." 

Fellow students Sean McBride, Chase Burke and Robert Johnson agreed the ordeal was a new experience for them. 

"We were sitting in class, and they (school officials) came over the speaker saying that we had to get out and this was not a drill," McBride explained, adding "this is the first time I’ve ever had to do anything like that. I wasn’t afraid, but I knew something wasn’t right when I heard them say it was a level three". 

Carroll Bishop, assistant superintendent, said a level three code is not specific to a bomb threat, but that it is a protocol the district has in place for the safety of the students and staff.

"We don’t have a specific code level for each circumstance that may occur but a level three means we need to evacuate the school for the safety of everyone inside the building," he said. "We did what was necessary to keep everyone safe."

After bomb squad members removed the device, and the building was checked for other possible threats, students were allowed back to class to continue with their day. 

The device was removed to a secure facility where it was x-rayed and fire chief Bart Castleberry confirmed the device was not active and commended the school district on its quick action.

"The device was a dummy, something like the type of item that can be purchased at any souvenir shop," he said. "However, I would like to commend the district for their quick action. All safety procedures were followed and things went smoothly. They did a great job."

After checking the backpack and locker of the student who brought the device on campus, Conway police officials said they are confident this was not an action taken by the student with the intention of harming anyone at the school facility. 

{Candie Beck is a staff writer and can be reached at 501-505-1238 or at candie.beck@thecabin.net.}