'This can't be real': 20 Sydney schools evacuated over threatening emails

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read

Thousands of children at more than 20 Sydney schools have been forced out of classes after threatening emails were received while students sat HSC exams.

A high school on the lower north shore was the first to receive threats about 11am on Tuesday, via an anonymous email.

Since then, police say at least another 18 high schools across Sydney received similar threatening emails.

NSW Education confirmed more than 20 schools received threats.

The schools all enacted their emergency response plans, evacuated students, and contacted police.

Local and specialist officers are searching the schools, but no items of interest had been found by the end of the school day, police say.

Dozens of school children sit on an oval after being evacuated due to a bomb threat.
Thousands of students were sitting their HSC exams at the time of the evacuation. Source: 7News

The threats caused thousands of students sitting their HSC exams to be pulled from classrooms on one of the most important days of their schooling lives.

Many shattered students said they didn't get to finish their tests.

"A lot of people's initial reaction was 'this can't be real'," Castle Hill High year 12 student Josh Gatt told Nine Newspapers.

"Most people are worried about how it will be marked.”

Another student told The Daily Telegraph they were evacuated with just 40 minutes to go in a three-hour exam.

“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,” 18-year-old Bayden Arthur 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.

Crowds of students gather on an oval after being evacuated due to a bomb threat.
Many students said they were "shattered" they didn't get to finish their exams.

“We were all pretty shocked by it, we couldn’t believe it, I was pretty anxious about it all.”

Police believe the threats are linked and the Cybercrime Squad is investigating the origins of the emails.

"Police are reminding the community that sending threatening emails is a serious criminal offence," police said in a statement.

The NSW Educations Standards Authority said it was working with the schools to determine the impact on HSC exams.

"Schools will submit to NESA group applications for illness and misadventure on behalf of impacted students," a spokeswoman said.

"No student will have to re-sit an exam."

NSW Education said all the campuses would resume normal operations on Wednesday.

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