NSW schools evacuated by police after threatening email
Thousands of HSC students had their exams disrupted this morning when several Sydney schools were evacuated after receiving email threats.
A spokeswoman for NSW Police said officers were conducting evacuations of staff and students from at least half a dozen schools.
NSW Police would not disclose the names of the schools impacted.
But a HSC legal studies student has recounted the moment the deputy principal walked into their exam room and calmly informed them there had been a bomb threat.
Castle Hill High School student Bayden Arthur, 18, said there was just 40 minutes left on the clock of the three hour exam they were told to evacuate
"I was just getting onto my second essay and our deputy principal walked into our classroom, as she walks in we all just kind of look at her and she (stopped) the class," he said.
"She said, 'hey guys, I am just going to get you to put your pens down and stop what you're doing because we're going to have to evacuate you because there has been a bomb threat'.
"She was calm, right after she finished saying that she just ran off out of the classroom.
"We were all pretty shocked by it, we couldn't believe it, I was pretty anxious about it all."
He said it was frustrating because he had spent the last 12 months studying for these final three hours.
"Legal studies was one of the exams I wanted to focus on and not being able to finish it, it was shattering," he said.
Year 12 Student Ethan said he was concerned this would be a regular occurrence for HSC students in an already chaotic year.
"It was a strange scenario, our friends were texting us telling they were taken out of the Legal Exam halfway through," he told NewsLocal.
Another student, Mia, said the uncertainty for HSC students was concerning.
"There is a lot of uncertainty for students during these times, we don't need additional worries," she said.
"I don't know why this is happening but it's I think it's just not ideal at all.
"Obviously it's so stressful and then on top of it we have no idea what's going to happen to all marks because of a threat like this.
"I feel for the kids in those exams today."
Two HSC students who were sitting exams today were Yuyin and Aryan, who said they were told it was an email bomb threat sent to the school this morning.
"We were told that we would be getting estimated marks, despite the fact that we were almost finished," Yuyin said.
"It definitely ruined everyone's day."
NSW police searched for several hours after evacuating classrooms.
Year 12 students at Castle Hill High School were taken back into the school hall to get their bags around 2.30pm on Tuesday.
Younger students had to wait on the school oval until parents came to collect them.
In a statement the NSW Education Standards Authority said students would not have to do another exam.
"Impacted students will not continue exams unless it is safe to do so. No student will have to re-sit an exam," she said.
"Schools will submit to NESA group applications for illness and misadventure on behalf of impacted students."
More than 10 schools have now been impacted by the threat - a figure which is understood to be growing steadily as more schools receive the note, the content of which is not yet known.
The NSW Department of Education said all schools' Emergency Response Plans have been activated.
"The department is aware that a small number of high schools have received a threatening email," a spokesman said.
The department will work closely with NSW Police to support staff and students.
"There has been email threats several schools across Sydney," A NSW Police spokeswoman said. "Students and staff have been evacuated from all locations.
"There are no reports of any injuries."
NewsLocal understands schools including Willoughby Girls High, Jamison High, Castle Hill
High and Thomas Reddall High in Ambarvale have all been evacuated as precautionary measures.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the threats were very distressing but said students due to sit exams who were affected could apply for special consideration.
"I have only received very preliminary advice in relation to that issue, and there have been some threats made," she said.
"Police are involved and I will be expecting to get more information on that later today.
"Obviously it would be very distressing to students if exams have been disrupted due to a threat of that nature.
"We have very clear protocols in place if there is any issue that affects an exam, they are able to apply for illness and misadventure provisions through NESA."
A local resident in Willoughby heard police helicopters circling overhead and an alarm sounding outside Willoughby Girls and Willoughby Public School just after 11am.
"I was going for a walk nearby and heard an evacuation alarm being triggered," the resident, who did not wish to be named, said.