'Show and tell' grenade evacuation
A school in Newcastle, Australia, has been evacuated after an 11-year-old girl brought in a hand grenade for ‘show and tell’.
Police said the grenade resembles a World War Two ‘pineapple’ and is believed to be inactive, but it will stay in the principal's office at Hunter Christian School, Mayfield, until specialists deem it safe.
Students and staff were evacuated to a park near the school, on Kerr Street, after the student brought the grenade in to show her classmates, police said.
The year five student showed her teacher the grenade at about 8.30am.
"She understood it to be a dummy hand grenade that had been deactivated, there was no firing pin, just the body of the grenade," Principal Boyd Allen told The Newcastle Herald.
"We understand it was from a family friend and many years old.
"It was heavy, but I assume practice grenades would weigh that much too."
The girl's teacher brought the grenade to the head of primary and the two teachers brought the device to Allen.
He evacuated the 450 students and 60 teachers to Wests club and called the police.
"I was understandably concerned for the welfare of the students," he said.
"I wasn’t sure if it was a dummy and I didn’t want to take that chance."
The police rescue squad cordoned off the school and asked neighbours in surrounding streets to leave their homes.
Parents have been notified and invited to collect their children if they wish.
Allen said the student was not in trouble.
"She’s bewildered, embarrassed," he said.
"I tried to make her aware she’s not in trouble.
"She’s a sweet young lady from a lovely family."
Inspector Gerrard Lawson, from Newcastle City Local Area Command, said all students were safe and well.
"At this time we anticipate an early resolution to this issue but we will await specialist advice as to the safety of moving the item," Inspector Lawson said in a statement.
"I want to warn members of the public that if they have or are aware of military ordnance they should not touch or move it but contact police immediately."
Specialist police and Australian Defence Force personnel will examine the grenade.
Hunter Christian School has students from Kindergarten to Year 12, according to its website.
Sydney Morning Herald