Two bomb threats forced the evacuations of Oakdale High School and Riverbank's Cardozo Middle School on Thursday before law enforcement officials searched the campuses and found no explosive devices or suspicious items.
School officials moved students and staff to nearby community centers and notified parents through automated telephone messaging systems. Officials canceled classes for the rest of the day and allowed parents to pick up their children at the centers.
Both campuses were expected to be open today with school and law enforcement officials ready to respond to any more threats.
"We checked out the school completely," said Joe Galindo, superintendent of the Riverbank Unified School District. "We believe the school is a safe place."
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Oakdale police Chief Marty West said one officer will be at Oakdale High today and other officers will patrol around the campus as a precautionary measure.
Thursday's bomb threats came two days after a student at Somerset Middle School in Modesto discovered a modified novelty grenade filled with gunpowder near a classroom.
"There's really nothing right now that links (the three school incidents) together," said Modesto police Sgt. Craig Gundlach, who worked Thursday as a spokesman for the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department in the Riverbank incident. "But obviously investigators will look into any possible links."
Gundlach said Thursday that investigators had not identified any suspects in the Somerset case.
Oakdale police received the first bomb threat about 7:40 a.m. from a female caller claiming there was a bomb at the campus, West said.
He said three teams of officers and a janitor searched the campus but found nothing suspicious.
West said his department decided to act with extra caution.
"How many (instances) do we read about nationally where there are threats made by a student and it becomes a major incident where people are injured or killed?" West said. "We want to make sure we are doing our best at keeping students and teachers and the surrounding area safe."
Students were evacuated from the high school and taken by bus to the Gene Bianchi Community Center. West said about 1,500 students are enrolled at the high school, but the number evacuated Thursday was not available.
The Riverbank school scare was sparked about 11:50 a.m., when a male called the Cardozo Middle School main office claiming there was an explosive device on campus, Gundlach said.
Nearly 700 students were moved to the Riverbank Community Center across the street, where they waited for their parents.
Most of the students had gone home by 1:30 p.m., and sheriff's officials, assisted by the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District, completed the campus search about 3 p.m., Gund-lach said.
"They searched the entire campus, inch by inch, classroom by classroom, bush by bush," Gundlach said. "They didn't find anything."
Sheriff's detectives ask anyone with information on the Riverbank bomb scare to call CrimeStoppers at 521-4636. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Oakdale police ask anyone with information on the Oakdale incident to call 847-2231.