Buildings in the Hilton Central School District were evacuated on Wednesday because of a bomb threat, according to school officials and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

According to officials, all buildings were swept and deemed safe by the MCSO.

The sheriff's office says an anonymous threat was sent through email to some of the local media outlets around 8:30 a.m. According to investigators, the threat stated that explosive devices had been planted in schools, the district office and the superintendent's residence.

The MCSO says they then notified the school district and began readying K-9 units and bomb technicians to search the premises. Officials say students boarded buses away from school buildings and asked parents and guardians to come pick them up. According to officials, more than 5,000 children and staff were evacuated from district schools.

“We take any threat to our community, but especially any threat to children, very, very very, seriously,” MSCO Captain Pat Rojas said. “And once we determine that there is a threat here at the school district, and like the superintendent said over 5,000 students and staff were going to be involved, that makes us go into ‘go mode.’ We came here as fast as we could to determine if this threat was real or not.”

“This is something that cannot happen and some people could have gotten hurt,” Hilton Superintendent Casey Kosiorek said. “Especially children and staff that are innocent. They come to school every day and all they want to do is learn. And now they’ve been disrupted. Their social and emotional health has been put in a place now where parents are having conversations with their children tonight about what does it mean when someone is going to bomb a school. It’s absolutely irresponsible and it should not be tolerated.”

District officials said Wednesday that the threatening email made reference to a book located in a district library.

“The threat that came in was based on the fact that a book titled ‘This Book Is Gay’ is a selection in the Hilton library at the high school,” Kosiorek said. “It is also a selection that is available in other schools across Monroe County and in the Monroe County Library.”

While the sheriff's office is still investigating the cause of the threat, the superintendent says he is considering this a hate crime.

“Absolutely I see it as a hate crime,” Kosiorek said. “The book is authored and based on gay individuals. So I think that that certainly can be a consideration when people are drawing their conclusions of whether this would be a hate crime.”

A meeting is scheduled to be held Wednesday evening to discuss the placement of the book in the school after a resident previously voiced their concern at a Board of Education meeting over the book’s availability at the district.

Kosiorek says the only copy of the book was purchased in 2015 and is currently checked out by another school district that is in the process of reviewing the book to make a determination on if it will be carried by their library.

All schools will remain closed for the remainer of the day Wednesday. Scheduled on-campus afterschool events are also canceled.

The district says that it plans to open the school Thursday for a full day of classes. However, law enforcement will be placed at all buildings and at arrival and dismissal through the end of the week.

The school district says the Trauma, Illness and Grief Team and counselors will be on hand Thursday if any students need support.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Section is continuing an investigation into the threat by vetting the email to see where it originated.