Suspicious package at school deemed harmless

A bomb squad has determined that a suspicious package found this afternoon at a Berkeley elementary school is harmless, a police spokeswoman said.

At 2:14 p.m., the principal of Cragmont Elementary School, located at 830 Regal Road, reported that there was a suspicious package in her office, Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.

The school was evacuated, and nearby streets were shut down while the Police Departent's bomb squad sent in a robot to perform an X-ray scan of the package, Kusmiss said.

The package was deemed harmless at about 4:20 p.m. when the bomb squad concluded it was a lunch box with wires in it, she said.

The report of the suspicious package came near the end of the school day when many parents were already headed to the school to pick up their students, Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan said.

Coplan said staff and students were moved to a nearby playground, where parents and school buses took the kids away.

After the bomb squad destroyed the package, staff were allowed to return to the campus, where Coplan said “everything will be back to normal” on Wednesday.

He complimented the response by school staff and Berkeley police to ensure the safety of the students.

“It's good to see how smoothly they handled it, and it helps them to know in the future they'll be in good hands,” Coplan said.

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