Oops! Schoolchildren Evacuate After Emergency Staff Confuses "Bong" for "Bomb"

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Oops! Schoolchildren Evacuate After Emergency Staff Confuses "Bong" for "Bomb"


A bong is a water pipe consisting of a bottle or a tube with a smaller offset tube shaped in a bowl, says Chris Caulfield of the UK’s highest-circulating newspaper Metro. A bong is also a device used to consume cannabis, while a bomb refers to an explosive device. While it looks easy to differentiate one from the other, these words can undoubtedly spark an emergency school evacuation. 

Such is the case of Marianna High School in Florida, United States. The high school confused the words “bong” and “bomb” on September 25, leading to a “mass emergency evacuation.” Staff at the said high school was phoned by a student’s family member saying a pupil’s bookbag contained “inappropriate” items. The caller mentioned that the student brought a “bong,” as stated in a press release posted on the website of the Jackson County School Board. 


Photo Credit: Metrograb (via Metro)


Unfortunately, the staff heard the word “bomb,” which threw them into a panic. According to the school board, “The staff member reported what was heard to school administration and appropriate action was taken.” Per the protocol, the whole school was evacuated using an emergency drill. The situation was also investigated, finding that the staff member “misheard the word during the telephone conversation.” 

Superintendent of Marianna High School Larry Moore thanked the prompt action of the staff to ensure the students’ safety, as emphasized in the press release. However, the press release and media reports did not state whether or not the student was found to have a bong in their bag, notes Ann Smajstria of Cox Media Group National Content Desk via Florida-based television channel WFTV9. 


Photo Credit: Fer Gregory (via Shutterstock)


Interestingly, this isn’t the first time a case of confusion between the two words has been documented. In 2018, police officers searched a Massachusetts high school, as one student reported a bomb in the parking lot. When interviewed, the anonymous caller informed the police that the other student had a “bong.” Authorities searched the car of the student-suspect, confirming that the caller’s words were misunderstood. 




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