Connetquot High School in Bohemia, New York, was evacuated for roughly 30 minutes on Thursday morning while the three boys were arrested, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart told reporters.
The boys, all 16 years old, have not been identified by police.
Police said the three were overheard discussing plans to build a bomb while on a school bus ride home Wednesday afternoon. Multiple other students reported the conversation to school administrators, who notified the police.
“The department takes these threats extraordinarily seriously,” Hart said to reporters. “While the majority of these instances do not rise to the level of violence, we treat all of them as if they can be executed.”
Suffolk County Deputy Chief of Detectives Matt Lewis said the boys’ conversation had been recorded by video and audio surveillance on the school bus.
“It’s explicit,” he said of their conversation. “It goes on for about 10 minutes. They’re not whispering, they’re speaking openly.”
A subsequent search of the boys’ homes turned up no bombmaking materials, Hart said. She added that police recovered three BB guns, two laptops, and a copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” a 1971 book that includes instructions for homemade explosives. The boys’ cell phones were also taken by police.
The boys are expected to be arraigned Thursday evening in Suffolk County Youth Court. Attorneys for the three could not be immediately ascertained.
The three face fourth degree conspiracy charges, a felony in New York.
Hart praised the teens’ schoolmates for reporting the conversation to school administrators.
“It’s not always easy, but they did the right thing,” she said.
“We want to make it clear that a plan to build a bomb, no matter the motivation, is a very serious offense,” Hart said.