News & Politics

Sidwell Friends School Evacuated Due to Suspicious Package, Cleared Thursday

The First Daughters' school was evacuated on Joe Clancy's first day heading the Secret Service.

Joe Clancy may have had a rough first day as acting Secret Service chief.

At 9:15 Thursday morning Sidwell Friends School evacuated its students because a suspicious package was found in the private school, which is attended by 16-year-old Malia Obama and 13-year-old Sasha.

DC police responded to the school on Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest, near Tenleytown.

“It was cleared,” says officer Hugh Carew. “There was no hazardous material found.”

Secret Service spokesperson Brian Leary said the school was evacuated temporarily because of a bomb threat. The Secret Service does not send special units to respond to bomb threats at the school, according to Leary. The detail that protects Obama’s daughters was not augmented by other units.

Were Malia and Sasha at school Thursday morning and evacuated with their classmates?

“We just don’t discuss that,” Leary said, though with the First Family currently in Washington, it’s very likely the President’s daughters were at Sidwell.

Thursday’s evacuation to a campus athletic field was Sidwell’s second emergency response of the week. On Monday, students were ordered to move inside the building because of police activity near campus.

Neither the DC police nor the Secret Service were aware of Monday’s actions by the school.

Secret Service chief Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday after members of Congress grilled her about news that an intruder had jumped the White House fence and entered the building. That story was followed by a report that an armed felon had gotten on an elevator with President Obama in Atlanta last month.

Clancy was called back from retirement to fill in for Pierson. He had served as head of the agency’s presidential protection division until 2011.   

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