SAN DIEGO — Students were evacuated from Millennial Tech Magnet Middle School in the Chollas View neighborhood Friday afternoon after an 11-year-old student brought a personal science project that he had been making at home to school, authorities said.
Maurice Luque, spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said the student had been making the device in his home garage. A vice principal saw the student showing it to other students at school about 11:40 a.m. Friday and was concerned that it might be harmful, and San Diego police were notified.
The school, which has about 440 students in grades 6 to 8 and emphasizes technology skills, was initially put on lockdown while authorities responded.
Luque said the project was made of an empty half-liter Gatorade bottle with some wires and other electrical components attached. There was no substance inside.
When police and the Metro Arson Strike Team responded, they also found electrical components in the student's backpack, Luque said. After talking to the student, it was decided about 1 p.m. to evacuate the school as a precaution while the item was examined. Students were escorted to a nearby playing field, and parents were called and told they could come pick up their children.
A MAST robot took pictures of the device and X-rays were evaluated. About 3 p.m., the device was determined to be harmless, Luque said.
Luque said the project was intended to be a type of motion-detector device.
Both the student and his parents were "very cooperative" with authorities, Luque said. He said fire officials also went to the student's home and checked the garage to make sure items there were neither harmful nor explosive.
"There was nothing hazardous at the house," Luque said.
The student will not be prosecuted, but authorities were recommending that he and his parents get counseling, the spokesman said.
The student violated school policies, but there was no criminal intent, Luque said.