Marguerite Vann Elementary in Conway was evacuated just after 11 a.m. Monday — the first day of classes for the district — after officials discovered a "suspicious package" at the school. After investigating, officials said no one was in danger.
"It was really a precautionary issue," superintendent Greg Murry said. "Kids were never in danger."
Principal Bobby Walker called authorities Monday after a man dropped off a backpack to be donated to a "needy child," said La Tresha Woodruff, Conway Police Department public information officer. Conway Fire Chief Bart Castleberry said the school principal became concerned when he opened the backpack and saw wires.
Between 300 and 400 students and staff were evacuated to a safe distance, Woodruff said.
An official at Marguerite Vann referred questions to Murry.
At about 1 p.m., children were allowed to re-enter the school for a late lunch after a partial X-Ray by the Conway Fire Department Bomb Squad revealed the wires are from a listening device, Castleberry said.
The backpack was removed and was "rendered safe," which means officials shot water or used a blast on the backpack as a precaution, Castleberry said. The wires were from speakers built into the new backpack. Whoever donated the backpack attempted to do good, Castleberry said. But, the backpack was destroyed.
Responding agencies included the Conway police, fire department, bomb squad and University of Central Arkansas police.