NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed the ‘threatening emails’ that led to evacuations at multiple schools across the state originated in eastern Europe.
Thousands of Year 12 students have been evacuated during their HSC exams over the past three days following the threats.
Ms Berejiklian was briefed by Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and told earlier bomb hoaxes emailed to NSW schools on Tuesday and Wednesday had been sourced to eastern Europe.
‘He’s allowed me to confirm that the initial email threats actually emanated from eastern Europe,’ she said.
But an evacuation at North Sydney Boys High School in Crows Nest on Thursday morning is being treated as a local copycat incident.
The premier confirmed a person rang the school on Thursday morning saying there was a bomb, forcing the school to evacuate before HSC students were due to sit their modern history exam.
A police operation is underway at the school, and all students and staff are safe.
Neighbours who live near the school reported hearing police helicopters circling the area at about 10.30am.
It comes after Wednesday morning’s HSC biology exam was interrupted after numerous New South Wales schools received a threatening email.
North Sydney Boys High School in Crows Nest is the latest to evacuate pupils after receiving a threat from an anonymous source just after 9am on Thursday
Neighbours who live near the school reported hearing police helicopters circling the area at about 10.30am
They follow hoax emails containing bomb threats sent to about 20 high schools on Tuesday, which led to thousands of Sydney HSC students having to abandon exams as schools were evacuated.
NSW Police are working with Australian Federal Police and federal authorities on the matter.
‘I have confidence that the police and the education department will resolve what is in the best interest of every student,’ Ms Berejilkian said.
‘At the end of the day what matters most is safety and wellbeing of the students.’
NSW education department secretary Mark Scott said those people making the threats may be deliberately creating ‘frustration and annoyance’.
‘We want students to be able to sit their exams…they’ve got a lot on their minds, it’s a stressful time and it’s been a stressful year – this is the last thing they need,’ he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.
It comes after Wednesday morning’s biology exam was interrupted after numerous New South Wales schools received a threatening email. Pictured: Students on an oval at an evacuated Castle Hill school on Tuesday
‘So this is particularly malicious for these students.’
Mr Scott said despite the threats, more than 60 per cent of all HSC exams had already been sat and the whole process would be completed within a fortnight.
‘We want to minimise disruption, prioritise safety and … assure people we’re working very closely with police to help swift identification of the people responsible,’ he said.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott described the threats as ‘demented’, The Australian reported.
‘It certainly takes a small and demented mind to interrupt HSC students after a traumatic year during a pandemic when the nation is at a heightened state of alert in terrorism,’ he said.
‘I’m horrified an individual or individuals would find themselves so bored that they would want to disrupt this very important part in these children’s lives.’
Any HSC student whose exam was disrupted by an evacuation would get special consideration when it was marked
Earlier, Ms Berejiklian said Tuesday’s threats were being investigated by the Cyber Crimes Squad.
‘The students do not need to re-sit the exams, so we are working out the best way to make sure they’re assessed,’ she told Sydney radio 2GB.
‘It was a very scary thing, but I know police are on to it and I’m confident police will get to the bottom of it.’
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the stunt was ‘a disgrace, not a funny prank’ and warned severe penalties would be applied when the culprit was caught.
The main exams affected were legal studies and visual arts in the morning, but most afternoon exams went ahead as planned.
Ms Mitchell said any HSC student whose exam was disrupted by an evacuation would get special consideration when it was marked.
Source: Daily Mail AU
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