NSW education authorities and police are voicing their concern after yet more high schools in the state were evacuated and exams disrupted due to threatening emails.
Students sitting their HSC exams have been interrupted by the threats – a ‘double whammy’ for the class of 2020 which has already experienced an extremely unsettled year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Students moved to open fields
Yesterday (Wednesday) 10 schools from the Hunter region to the south coast had to move students from their exam rooms and out onto open field to allow police search teams and bomb squad officers to comb the premises.
This follows a similar series of incidents in Sydney on Tuesday, when more than 20 schools had to disrupt their exams and implement emergency response plans when threatening emails began arriving in school inboxes at around 11am.
The NSW Department of Education said that no student would be penalised or disadvantaged by the interruptions.
Special provisions for students
“There will be special provisions … to look after those students, the department’s Mark Scott said. He added that many students had been able to continue sitting their exams after police pronounced the premises safe.
“At some sites there was minimal disruption. The students have gone outside [and] they have been separated from each other [so there’s] no opportunity for chatting in the playground.
“Checks have been made and then students have been able to go back and complete the exam,” Scott said. “It’s not ideal, but it still did allow some students to finish.”
Cybercrime detectives investigate
NSW Police Minister, David Elliot, also spoke out and said the source of the emails were being investigated by cybercrime detectives.
“It certainly takes a small and demented mind to interrupt HSC students, after a traumatic year during a pandemic when the nation is at a heightened state of alert [for] terrorism,” he said.
“I am horrified that an individual or individuals would find themselves so bored that they want to disrupt this very important part in these children’s lives.”