Suspicious suitcase that evacuates 400 students contained only c - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Suspicious suitcase that evacuates 400 students contained only clothes

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MILTON-FREEWATER, OR - A local school was evacuated after someone found a suspicious package in a campus gathering area.

It happened at McLoughlin High School in Milton-Freewater. Police responded to the package around 7 this morning, and students were evacuated and later sent home after hearing it would take longer than a couple hours to inspect the package. 

"It was suspicious to the extent," explained Superintendent Rob Clark. "Most of our kids don't carry suitcases, they carry backpacks."

As a superintendent of now 25 years, Clark says if you asked him 25 years ago, this is not how he would have handled this situation.

"25 years ago, I would have been like, 'go look in the bag, we've got school to go to,' Clark said.

But now, bomb squads, emergency services, and police officers were all present.

And why?

Because those in charge are not taking anything lightly.

"In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to do these things," Clark said. "But we are not in a perfect world. We have to get better at every aspect of this."

And if you ask students from the high school, it's kind of terrifying that this could happen at their small school.

"You wouldn't expect this in such a small town; maybe in a bigger area."

But just because it's a small school doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

"It could happen to us. It's happened everywhere in the country. Small, rural, urban."

The suitcase ended up being filled with just clothes. But officials say they will continue to do everything they can to keep their students safe.

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