DENVER -- A teacher removed a suspicious package left inside a northern Colorado school that was later determined to be an active explosive, authorities said Tuesday.

However, police in Lafayette were cautious about calling the teacher a hero.

"That would not be a recommended protocol for the safety of the person carrying it," police Cmdr. Gene McCausey said. "Whether it was a smart thing to do or the teacher's a hero, that would be left up to the reader."

Still, he said, "If my kid was in that school I would be very thankful that he or she removed it for safety."

The name of the teacher was not released.

Police arrested a 16-year-old boy after the apparent pipe bomb prompted the evacuation of Centaurus High School on Monday. He was taken into custody at his home, where investigators said they found additional evidence.

His name was not released because he is a juvenile.

Police described the device as similar to a pipe bomb and said it was removed by a bomb squad robot from the campus and detonated in a construction lot.

McCausey said the device was found by the teacher in a paper bag.

The Daily Camera (http://tinyurl.com/d6cw7n2) said the teacher took the device outside before police arrived. School officials wouldn't discuss what happened or make the teacher available for comment.

McCausey said the device had a 9-volt battery and could have hurt people nearby had it exploded in the school.

The school was evacuated as police worked into the night to search the school and cars abandoned in the parking lot by fleeing students and teachers. Students returned to classes on Tuesday.

The teen was being held on suspicion of felony possession of explosive/incendiary parts, felony menacing and misdemeanor interference of an educational institution by threat with a deadly weapon.

Students said they didn't know what was going on during the evacuation.

"We thought it was a fire drill. They didn't really tell us anything," senior Kayla Vellitt told the newspaper.

About 1,000 students attend the school, which has a pre-engineering program.

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Information from: Daily Camera, http://www.dailycamera.com/

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