Bottineau cancels classes, others enter soft lockdowns following threat

Published: Mar. 7, 2018 at 10:10 AM CST
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UPDATE (7:30 p.m.): School will resume as normal Thursday in Bottineau, after a day of investigations into a school threat.

The Bottineau Public School district cancelled class early Wednesday morning after a threatening image turned up on social media.

The district first got word of a threat Tuesday evening, but were planning on conducting a soft lockdown Wednesday.

Then came word of more information Wednesday morning, and officials chose to play it safe and call off class.

To recap the day's events, the high school and middle school in Bottineau were closed, along with Dakota College at Bottineau and its child care facility.

The threat also prompted soft lockdowns of the MLS, Newburg and Westhope Schools as a precautionary measure.

The Bottineau County Sheriff says two people, a juvenile from the Bottineau area and another person not from the Bottineau area, were cited for the threat.

The juvenile from Bottineau is being released to her parents.

They stress that there is no threat to the public at this time.

All classes as set to resume as normal Wednesday at Bottineau Public Schools as well as Dakota College at Bottineau.

UPDATE (4:52 p.m.): Statement from Pat Brenden, Bottineau Public School Superintendent:

“Bottineau Public School did not have classes in session today because of a major concern that was received by administration at 6:30 this morning. With the short time frame to figure this out the administration decided that it was best to not hold classes. A picture from social media was turned over to the Bottineau County Sheriff’s Department and ND Bureau of Criminal Investigation. During the day interviews were conducted with various individuals, information was gathered which led law enforcement to be able to identify the individuals responsible for this incident.

School will run on schedule tomorrow, Thursday, March 8, 2018.”

UPDATE (3:52 p.m.): Response from Dr. Jerry Migler, Dean of Dakota College at Bottineau:

“Based on an update from the Bottineau County Sheriff’s Department, the college is no longer on lockdown. As noted in the message from our alert system, the Bottineau campus was closed due to a threat that was directed at Bottineau Public Schools – not at Dakota College at Bottineau. Due to the proximity of the DCB campus to Bottineau Public Schools, and in consultation with the Sheriff’s Department, it was determined that it would be best to close the campus until more information was received regarding the threat to the school district. While the Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate this situation, we have been informed that we can lift the campus lockdown. The campus will remain closed for the day. As with all campus closures, the main buildings will be locked. Students in residence halls are free to leave their buildings. However, as an additional precaution, we ask everyone to remain vigilant for any suspicious activity while this threat to Bottineau Schools remains under investigation.”

Update (12:16 p.m.): Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood, Newburg, and Westhope Public Schools have gone into soft lockdowns Wednesday strictly as a precautionary measure, in light of the investigation into a threat to Bottineau Public Schools. School officials believe there is no threat to the public.

The Bottineau County Sheriff’s office says the high school was the first to cancel class, and the middle school and Dakota College at Bottineau cancelled class as a precautionary measure.

The Bottineau County Emergency Management office posted on Facebook that “there is not and has not been an active shooting at any of the educational or care facilities” and any rumors occurring are not accurate. The office also posted that no one has been harmed all actions taken today are precautionary.

Anyone with information that could help in the investigation should call the following number at the Bottineau County Dispatch Center: (701) 228-2780.

The Bottineau Public School District chose not to have class Wednesday after receiving further information this morning regarding a threat to the district.

Late Tuesday night the district posted on its Facebook page that school administrators received a message around 5:30 p.m. they considered a threat to the district. The Bottineau County Sheriff's Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation were notified, and authorities interviewed a person shown in the message.

At the time authorities deemed it not to be a threat, but the district elected to have class in a soft lockdown Wednesday.

However, the district posted Wednesday morning that "Due to additional information that has been brought forth at 6:30 this morning, Bottineau Public School will not be in session today. Additional information may be sent out at a future date and time."

This is a developing story. We will have more information as it becomes available.