Education

High school, middle school in Mountain Home closed due to threats made

School bus line waiting for kids Getty Images | Royalty Free
School bus line waiting for kids Getty Images | Royalty Free Getty Images/iStockphoto

School district officials closed Hacker Middle School and Bennett Mountain High School on Thursday in Mountain Home due to threats made to Bennett Mountain High.

Classes and activities were canceled for the day at Hacker Middle School and Bennett Mountain High. The schools’ normal schedules will resume Friday.

In a Facebook post Thursday evening, the Mountain Home Police Department said it has identified the suspect and expects to file criminal charges shortly. The post also said it believes students were never truly in danger and that the threats were not credible.

There also may be increased police presence at schools in the district, “for peace of mind for the students and parents,” the post said.

Mountain Home School District Superintendent James Gilbert wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday night that they had received an email saying there was a potential act of violence scheduled to happen Thursday at Bennett Mountain High, prompting the closure.

In an announcement from the Mountain Home School District early Thursday, Mountain Home High School and all other schools in the district are open but will have additional safety measures in place.

Mountain Home High School and other open schools in the district will be in a “hard lock down during the day,” and there will also be extra police presence at the school, according to a Facebook post from the district.

In a “hard lock down” all classrooms are locked and if a student must leave the classroom they are required to have an escort from the office. Students are allowed to enter the hallway during passing periods.

Mountain Home Police Chief Scott Conner said Thursday morning that police were investigating the source of the email-based threats. The threatening email was sent to the school.

He declined to expand on the specifics of what the threat said.

“We don’t have reason to believe that anyone was actually in danger,” but schools were closed as a precaution, he said.

Conner was sworn in as police chief on Monday.

Threats against schools this week have been seen in other parts of the area, too.

In Clarkston, Washington, on Wednesday, 800 students were evacuated due to a bomb threat, according to the Lewiston Tribune. Lincoln Middle School and Heights Elementary in Clarkston were evacuated.

This is a developing story that the Idaho Statesman will update today.

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