Update (5:45 p.m.) The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office investigated the rumors and determined there is no threat to the school, according to Captain Bill Michaelis.
Michaelis said a student started the rumors to get out of class.
He said there is nothing criminal and the school is handling the discipline internally.
Earlier Superintendent Tobin Novasio said school was optional for the last two days and there was a question about holding the 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony.
LOCKWOOD – Lockwood Middle School is on a “soft lockdown” with substantial law enforcement on campus following “rumors” of a possible threat, Superintendent Tobin Novasio said in a Wednesday email to parents and staff.
The 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, is in “limbo,” Novasio said, with a final announcement coming Thursday.
A police dog was in school to search student lockers and other common areas. A soft lockdown is where the doors are locked but students are allowed to move within the building
He added that the school has no evidence it’s a credible threat, but if administrators see “one tenth of one percent chance” that something could happen, they’ll take every precaution.
Here’s the full email:
Lockwood Schools and the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office have been investigating a series of rumors regarding a possible threat to the Middle School. At this time we have not been able to determine that these rumors have any credibility. While we do not believe that there is any real threat, we have been taking every precaution available. Your children and their safety is our top priority and we will continue to take additional safety measures.
There is a substantial presence of law enforcement on campus and we will remain in a soft lockdown for the remainder of this week. We have also brought the police dog in to the Middle School today to search student lockers and other common areas.
As a school district, we respect and support your role as a parent and thus we are making attendance optional for the last two days of school. I personally assure you that we will do everything in our power to keep your child safe, but respect your right to do what you feel is best for your individual child. If you choose to keep your child home, please contact your child’s secretary to let them know so you do not receive notification of the absence.
As of right now, the 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony is in limbo. We are meeting tomorrow with representatives of the Sheriff’s Office to determine if we are going to go through with the event or not. We will make a final announcement to 8th Grade parents at some point tomorrow. If we do go forward with the ceremony, no bags or purses will be allowed and attendees will be searched by law enforcement. We certainly apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may cause but we want to defer to the safest route possible.
We have not been able to find any evidence that this is a credible threat but if there is even one tenth of one percent chance that something may happen, we are going to take every precaution available to us.
Thank you for entrusting your children to us.