Bomb threat phoned in to David Posnack Jewish Day School

All clear given at about noon

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

DAVIE, Fla. - Students were evacuated Tuesday morning from the David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie after someone phoned in a bomb threat.

Officials at the K-12 private school at 5810 S. Pine Island Road said all buildings were evacuated, and students and staff are safe.

"I'm very, very wary. This is the second time within 10 days. This is not right, not right," one parent, Sigal Perl said.

Some students were taking the PSATs when the incident occurred.

Davie police responded to the school and gave the all clear at about noon.

"Jews always have had a difficult time with hatred and anti-Semitism, but the rise now seems out of control and kids are being targeted because they're Jewish, and that's the only reason," one parent, Maggie Fischer, said.

Northbound lanes of Pine Island Road were shut down at Stirling Road during the investigation.

The bomb threat comes as U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter Tuesday to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey, urging them to take action in response to numerous anonymous bomb threats made against Jewish community centers, synagogues and schools throughout the country.

The letter was cosigned by all 100 senators.

"These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states," the senators wrote. "We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities."

According to the Jewish Federations of North America, at least 98 incidents against JCCs and Jewish Day Schools at 81 locations in 33 states have been reported in the first two months of 2017.

The JCC Association of North America released a statement Tuesday, saying that several JCCs in the country received "either an emailed or phoned-in bomb threat overnight and this morning."

Full text of senators' letter:

Dear Secretary Kelly, Attorney General Sessions, and Director Comey:

We write to underscore the need for swift action with regard to the deeply troubling series of anonymous bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), Jewish Day Schools, Synagogues and other buildings affiliated with Jewish organizations or institutions across the country. We thank you for your recent efforts and ask that you inform us of the actions that your Departments plan to take to address threats against these and other religious institutions. We stand ready to work with you to ensure that these centers can continue to serve their communities free from violence and intimidation. 

It has become clear that threats of violence against individual JCCs are not isolated incidents. According to the JCC Association of North America, in the first two months of 2017 alone, at least 98 incidents against JCCs and Jewish Day Schools at 81 locations in 33 states have been reported. These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states. In addition to reports of incidents at JCCs and Jewish Day Schools, there have been incidents at cemeteries in both St. Louis and Philadelphia involving the desecration of Jewish headstones. This is completely unacceptable and un-American.

We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities. Your Departments can provide crucial assistance by helping JCCs, Jewish Day Schools and Synagogues improve their physical security, deterring threats from being made, and investigating and prosecuting those making these threats or who may seek to act on these threats on the future. We encourage you to communicate with individual JCCs, the JCC Association of North America, Jewish Day Schools, Synagogues and other Jewish community institutions regarding victim assistance, grant opportunities or other federal assistance that may be available to enhance security measures and improve preparedness. We also recognize the anti-Semitic sentiment behind this spate of threats and encourage your Departments to continue to inform state and local law enforcement organizations of their obligations under the Hate Crimes Statistics Act and other federal laws.

We are ready to work with you to address this pressing issue, and we look forward to your responses about the actions you intend to take to address, deter, and prevent this threat.

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