Westwood Independent School District officials say they opted to take a "proactive" stance as its high school campus was searched by explosive-sniffing dogs early Wednesday morning in response to threats allegedly made last week by a 16-year-old student.

WISD Superintendent Marvin Thompson said the specially-trained dogs arrived at the high school campus around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday "and made a complete sweep of the building.

"Every interior room in the building was gone over by the dogs," said Thompson, adding no explosives were found.

Students, meanwhile, entered the high school Wednesday morning through a single entrance, according to the superintendent, with local police using hand-held metal detectors and school staff also assisting in searching bags and other designated items.

"Everybody chipped in and it was an orderly procedure and very thorough," Thompson said. "We're just taking precautions...We'll always be proactive and err on the side of being a little late to school or inconveniencing our staff and students a little."

Wednesday's security measures were in response to the discovery of graffiti found in a boy's restroom Friday which made reference to an April 2003 fire which caused moderate damage to the high school ag shop, according to school officials.

A 16-year-old male student is suspected to have written the graffiti and was expected to be transferred to an alternative school setting following a Wednesday afternoon administrative hearing, according to Thompson.

The superintendent said he believed the student would remain in alternative school for between 30-to-90 days before having his case reviewed.

Meanwhile, Palestine police are investigating the alleged threats.

"It's a combination of your basic discontentment with the world kind of stuff, but there is also some more threatening (language) in it," Palestine Assistant Chief Brian Wharton said of the bathroom stall graffiti. "There was reference to other criminal acts and the potential for additional acts to come today (Wednesday)."

The graffiti was written in "a combination of pencil and blue ink" on the interior of a bathroom stall, according to Wharton.

Thompson said the threat specifically referenced the April 2003 fire at Westwood and also made reference to a future event involving a bomb.

As of mid-day Wednesday, Wharton said his agency had not sought to detain the 16- year-old suspect, but added that could change in the coming days.

"If there's sufficient probable cause to obtain a directive (to apprehend), then certainly that will be done," Wharton said. "Particularly, these kinds of threats we take very seriously."

The assistant chief said his investigators want to be certain "all the pieces fit together when we make an accusation against a child or any other person for that matter."

Rumors have floated around the Westwood community, indicating the boy made threats to students about plans to make a bomb, while also possessing bomb making "recipes."

"There have been a number of statements made along that line by other students, but none of that has been established," Wharton said.

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