Police outside the Hunter Christian School at Mayfield. Source: The Daily Telegraph
EXPLOSIVES experts from the Royal Australian Air Force have removed a World War II hand grenade brought to a NSW school for show and tell.
A primary school girl, understood to be in Year 5, brought the potentially deadly device to the Hunter Christian School in Newcastle this morning, showing a teacher what she had brought for the day’s show and tell session.
Staff immediately evacuated the school’s 450 students and called triple-0.
Police then cordoned off the area, evacuating homes in an adjacent street.
An explosive ordnance disposal technician and another defence force officer removed the device without incident shortly after arriving at 11.20am.
The device was sealed in a steel munitions tin before being loaded into their 4WD to be taken back to base for testing.
Newcastle police duty officer Gerard Lawson said the RAAF personnel had deemed the grenade a sufficient risk to conduct further examinations.
“There’s no doubt that it did pose a potential threat and the actions we’ve had today are appropriate in the circumstances,” he said.
Insp Lawson said the girl’s family had taken possession of the grenade several weeks ago, unaware of its danger.
“When they were given it, they were assured it was safe but we can’t rely on that information,” he said.
“In a classroom, certainly if it was live and it was a fully functioning device it would cause serious injuries to all the occupants.”
The school has 450 students but many were yet to arrive for school when the alarm was raised.
Police say the school had activated its SMS system alerting parents to the situation and advising them to keep their children home.
Insp Lawson said police and teachers wanted to reassure parents that all students were safe and well.
“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,” Insp Lawson said.
School principal Boyd Allen said the students had been evacuated to a nearby club, where parents had been invited to pick them up. About 80 children were still waiting to be collected after the grenade was removed and would be looked after by staff for the rest of the day.