Aaron Seng, 14, spent yesterday shooting hoops and watching the latest news on television about the bomb threat at his South Philadelphia school.

Seng was on his way to Taggart Elementary, a K-8 school at 4th and Porter streets, when a teacher told him of the bomb threat.

When he went back home, his parents didn't believe him at first. Then they saw the news.

"It was scary," said Seng, whose parents let him stay home the rest of the day. "There were a lot of cops everywhere."

The Police Department's Bomb Squad arrived at Taggart about 8:15 a.m., after getting a call about a "suspicious device" on a school police officer's desk in the basement, said school district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

The building was evacuated and students were taken to Shars- wood Elementary, 2nd and Wolf streets.

The device, a dummy pineapple grenade, was determined to be harmless and was removed from the school, Gallard said. After officers and bomb-sniffing dogs swept the building, children were able to return about 10:30 a.m., police said.

Still, parents were concerned.

"I'm worried about the safety of my daughter," one man said as he and the girl walked to his car after school.

A crossing guard who asked not to be identified described a chaotic scene that was packed with police, news crews and bomb dogs as a helicopter thrummed overhead.

"[People] were nervous because they weren't sure," she said. "We heard it was a live grenade."

She said that the bomb threat also caused a disturbance at Shars-wood Elementary, where she said parents "were paranoid" and some took their children home for the day.

Mario Scuderi, 49, who manages a hardware store at 5th and Porter, said bomb scares happen every once in a while.

"The kids tried to get out of school," he suggested.