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Newton North bomb scare looks like a publicity stunt, city officials say

Posted by Ralph Ranalli April 9, 2007 12:16 PM

NEWTON

In an incident reminiscent of the Cartoon Network publicity stunt that threw Boston, Cambridge and Somerville into turmoil in January, Newton officials are saying that several suspicious backpacks discovered a Newton North High School this morning contained references to a myspace.com-style web site aimed at teens.

The appearance of the backpacks prompted the evacuation of the school parking lot and a call to the State Police Bomb Squad, officials said. Students were ushered into the school until police determined that they were harmless.

An examination of the backpacks found that they contained references to b4class.com, a social networking site that purports to have been started by a high school senior from Quincy. Authorities also found shredded newspaper, Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Young said.

"It appears to be either a prank or a marketing ploy of some kind," Young said. "But there was no threat to the school environment."

Some officials speculated yesterday that Newton North was targeted because it has been in the news lately, with recent high-profile stories about its $154 million new building project -- the most expensive in state history -- and a front page story in the New York Times about overachieving female students.

-- Ralph Ranalli and April Simpson

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