Suspicious envelope found at East Bakersfield High School

Suspicious envelope found at East Bakersfield High School
BAKERSFIELD, Calif - East Bakersfield High School was put on lock-down all Friday morning, after a suspicious envelope was found in a student's backpack.

By the afternoon, officers said preliminary tests of a substance in the envelope showed no hazard, but FBI agents are continuing to investigate.

Officials weren't saying how the envelope ended up in the backpack, but Kern High School District Police Chief Mike Collier said his officers took immediate action.

"The envelope contained a white powder," Collier told Eyewitness News, "With a note that indicated that it was a dangerous substance."

Hazardous materials crews were called out, and the envelope was removed by about noon and tested in a safe location on campus.

According to the school's principal, Lee Vasquez, the envelope was found in the choir room. Students from that class were taken to an area outside, and the rest of the students were kept in their classrooms.

"I really want to know what's going on, 'cause I'm really scared for my son," parent Yvonne Cabral told Eyewitness News. "He talked to me earlier, and he sounded a little bit scared on the phone."

Parents were not allowed on campus, and four streets around the school were shut down for several hours.

Cabral said by about noon, she got a phone call with a recorded message from the school, but she was still worried.

Collier said two FBI agents responded to the campus, as well as district police officers, Kern County Sheriff deputies, the Kern County Fire Department hazardous materials team and Kern County Environmental Health.

After the preliminary tests were done, crews left the scene, and by 1:00 p.m. school was dismissed.

Sheriff officials indicated more tests would be done on the material, but a late-afternoon statement said a preliminary test determined it was "not hazardous."

Parent Maria Armida Martinez had waited across the street from the campus, hoping to check on her four children who are East High students. She was concerned about the incident.

"Whoever did it, if it's a joke, it's not a funny joke," Martinez said. "Just wasting children's education and also you're wasting money to bring in Sheriff, and Highway Patrol and police."

School district Police Chief Mike Collier said they want to get to the bottom of what happened.

"We have FBI personnel talking to some of the students involved," he said. "To figure that all out."

But, Collier said the big response has a "silver lining." The crews got to practice what they will do in emergency situations.

"We were able to see that the various agencies in the county could come together and effectively respond to a potentially serious situation," Collier said.

A Sheriff's statement Friday evening said the FBI will continue investigating the incident.