Five Canberra schools were evacuated at various stages on Tuesday after a series of a bomb threats drew the ACT into a concerted international school bomb hoax.
Over the past week, schools across Australia and around the globe have received specific threats of harm, with ACT Police confirming three schools had been targeted mid-morning on Tuesday across Canberra with a further two evacuated later in the day.
Multiple Sydney schools receive bomb threats
The Seven Network's helicopter captures student evacuations after threats are made against schools in Mona Vale, Woolooware, Richmond and Penrith.
Lanyon High School, Forrest Primary, and Kingsford Smith School in Holt were all temporarily evacuated before midday. But students were returned to school about 1pm and classes resumed as normal. Just after 1pm, ACT Police revealed that Richardson and Miles Franklin has also received specific threats and students were also evacuated.
The ACT Education Directorate wrote to parents on Tuesday afternoon to assure parents and carers that safety procedures had all been adhered to.
"You may have heard a small number of ACT public schools received a threatening phone call today. Forrest Primary School, Kingsford Smith School, Lanyon High School, Richardson Primary School and Miles Franklin Primary School were evacuated as ACT Policing attended all sites, investigated the threats and confirmed it was safe for students and staff to return to normal classes," the statement said.
"Staff and students responded exceptionally well to the evacuation and we commend them for their swift action to ensure everyone was safe. If parents and carers have any concerns or require further information, please contact your school. Counselling support is available for all students and staff."
An ACT Police spokeswoman said the schools were evacuated as a precaution while the veracity of the threats were investigated.
"We can confirm that the schools have been searched and nothing suspicious has been identified," she said.
"Police are warning that it is an offence to make such threats and every effort will be made to identify those responsible. The offence carries heavy penalties."
''It appears to be a series of hoax calls similar to last week's incidents, designed to cause disruption and attract media attention," a Victoria Police statement read.
Victoria Education Minister James Merlino said almost 20 schools across the state had received threatening phone calls, including threats of violence.
He said emergency management plans were implemented immediately once the calls were made.
Sydney schools also received similar threats on Monday.
On Friday, the threats were all confirmed as a hoax.
A NSW Police spokesman said the threats were being investigated by the State Crime Command's fraud and cybercrime unit, although their purpose and origin remained unknown.
"There is no evidence these are anything other than hoaxes designed to causing unnecessary disruption and inconvenience," a spokesman said.
"The threats appear to come from overseas with no credible evidence they could be carried out here."
Victoria Police put out a statement on Friday night saying: "Victoria Police can confirm it is treating the threatening phone calls received by a number of Victorian schools today as a hoax.
"We are satisfied that there are no imminent threats to schools and that the threats are not terrorism related."
Police across the country have reiterated that making threatening phone calls is a serious criminal offence and the incidents will be fully investigated.
with Henry Belot