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BOMB SCARE ENDS UP A FALSE ALARM

Students, school administrators and police all had the Oklahoma City bombing well in mind during a bomb scare at North Davis Junior High on Wednesday morning.

"Oh yeah, we were very aware of it," said ninth-grader Anthony Puente. "I saw it on Channel 1 (a news channel geared specifically toward students watching at school), so I knew what was going on."The scare turned out to be a false alarm, but Puente and his peers had to wait outside their classrooms for 31/2 hours - more than twice the time required to investigate a usual bomb threat. Police weren't taking any chances in light of last week's devastation.

"We reacted to it differently," Clearfield Police Chief Morton Sparks said. "We certainly didn't gloss over it lightly. In this case, it was better to be overreactive rather than perhaps underreactive and miss something."

Sparks' department was seriously considering the possibility that the scare was a copycat imitation of Wednesday's destruction in Oklahoma City. Bomb threats around the country have increased sharply since then.

"It certainly was suspicious in that way, coming so soon after the Oklahoma thing," Sparks said.

No suspects have yet been found.

Bomb threats are not all that uncommon at schools - students have been known to call in a threat just to get out of taking a test. But it wasn't a student who called this one in.

"The secretary who answered the phone was paying close attention to whether it was a student or an adult," Principal Kent Smith said. "It was definitely an adult man."

The call came at 7:58 a.m., two minutes before the first bell to get to classes. All those tedious fire drills paid off - students were heading for the exits 30 seconds after the caller hung up.

"Everything went fairly well," Smith said. "The kids were most upset over the length of time we were out. It disrupted the process of their day, and a lot of them felt it was a violation of their rights."

The students didn't return to class until 11:30 a.m. Much of the delay stemmed from bringing in Hill Air Force Base dogs that were trained in sniffing out explosives.

The dogs and their human compatriots found nothing.

Although security was tightened at federal buildings and military bases throughout the nation after last Wednesday's bombing, many people did not consider schools within the ambit of threatened installations.

"I sent my kids to school without even giving it a second thought," said Michelle Hill, whose son Jeff is a seventh-grader at North Davis. "I guess I should have."