An arrest has been made in connection with the acid bomb that was discovered emitting smoke in a trashcan at Wesley Chapel High (WCH) on February 21.
According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), a 15-year-old sophomore constructed a “Works” acid bomb out of Works toilet bowl cleaner and placed it in a trashcan shortly after classes started at 7:30 a.m.
Pasco County Schools spokesperson Summer Romagnoli says that the bomb did not explode and that no one was injured, although the school’s assistant principal felt nauseous after inhaling some of the fumes coming out of the trashcan. The lockdown at WCH was lifted around 10 a.m. and classes resumed normal operations.
“A number of students were questioned,” says PCSO spokesman Kevin Doll, “some of whom said that the alleged ‘bomber’ had been talking about doing it for a long time.” Doll adds that the student responsible is facing a felony charge of making and discharging an explosive as well as disturbing school activity, a misdemeanor.
“Kids make these (types of bombs) all the time,” Doll says. “But, this is the first time I’ve heard of this happening at a school.”
Authorities say that when the assistant principal discovered the smoke billowing out of the trashcan, 911 was called and WCH issued a “modified lockdown,” requiring faculty and students to stay in their classrooms.
Romagnoli explains that this is different than a “full lockdown,” which occurs when there is an intruder or a “definite threat” at or to the school. In a “full lockdown,” students and faculty are ordered to remain quiet and stay in their rooms with the lights off and the doors locked.
According to the Center for Disease Control, an acid bomb, or “Works” bomb in this case, is a container filled with toilet-bowl cleaner and other household items. When the substances react with one another, a gas is created and fills the container until it escapes, which is the smoke that the school administrator saw.