School Districts in Montana’s Flathead Valley were forced to close today when anonymous threats flooded school officials from both texts and emails. Administrators in the Whitefish School District began to receive electronic threats late Wednesday evening. The menacing communication continued into Thursday morning, forcing schools across the Northwest region of Montana to suspend classes.
The FBI and local police are investigating the source of the messages and pursuing “people of interest.” Parents were alerted first thing Thursday morning, and extra law enforcement patrols were sent to monitor campuses.
Due to the nature of the warnings, all school activities have been called off for Thursday. This includes extra curricular pursuits, athletic events, and practices. Flathead Valley Community College has canceled their local function, titled “Oil and Water Don’t Mix,” as well as all classes.
Whitefish Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt has been in close communication with parents, updating them as the investigation progresses. Her correspondence early Thursday morning alerted them to the threat and shared concerns in regards to the safety of the students.
“Many threats directed at schools are made with the intention of disrupting education. Threats like these breed fear, anxiety and frustration for us all. While the vast majority of these threats turn out to be hoaxes, they have to be investigated and taken seriously. The safety and welfare of our students and staff is our highest priority.”
The Flathead Valley of Montana is a vacationers paradise and full of quaint resort towns. Home to Glacier National Park, it is often frequented by adventurers and families looking to escape the congestion of cities and enjoy the quieter pace of life in the rural communities.
The threats began shortly after a shooting in Rockford, Washington, at Freeman High School. The attack injured three students and killed one child. The deadly event occurred just south of Spokane in a small, peaceful hamlet. In conjunction with the harrowing incident, the school officials and police in Montana are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of their students and staff.
Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, no information can be given as to the content of the threats or the people under investigation. However, communication with the community has been consistent, and school officials will continue to keep families updated as pertinent news can be shared. Anyone with information is asked to contact Flathead County Detective Division at (406) 758-5610.
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