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Blackduck School: E-mail threat causes school lockdown

Blackduck School was under lockdown conditions on Sept. 11 in response to an e-mail threat involving physical violence directed towards the school or individuals involved with the school.

"Our number one issue is, are the kids safe," superintendent Robert Doetsch said.

Officials at the school stated they would not go into detail about what was in the e-mail but that they take any threat very seriously and the response to this threat was to lock down the school.

Doetsch met with with high school principal Wendy Templin regarding the e-mail upon his arrival at the school. "We met for less than a minute and then locked the school down," Doetsch also stated that, "We don't make quick decisions. We make educated decisions quickly."

Busses were directed to wait at the bus garage with students on board as janitors and faculty locked doors and stood watch. Students who walked to school were admitted by staff and directed to their home rooms as the halls were kept clear and key personnel kept in contact via walkie talkie.

After the lockdown had taken effect, the high school office was notified the individual reported to have sent the e-mail was on school grounds. Doetsch apprehended, frisked and then escorted individual to the office where they waited until the police and the sheriff's department arrived on scene and took the individual into custody. An officer from the sheriff department searched the individual's locker and school officials reported no items deemed dangerous were brought onto school property.

"We'll wait do see what law enforcement does," Doetsch said regarding the district pressing charges against the individual.

With the incident happening on the morning of the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, the question was raised if the threat was motivated by national events. "In my opinion there was no connection to 9/11. It was a poor decision and there are consequences," Doetsch said.

A lockdown drill was preformed the day before and officials praised the planning and rehearsals for the rapid response of both staff and students to the threat.

To alleviate fear and concern, faculty will be talking to students throughout the day and counseling resources are in place if needed, officials said.

After the lockdown was lifted "We welcomed them (students) with smiles and told them everyone was safe," Templin said.

A school resource officer, a fully trained and armed police officer, has been hired, is currently in training and expected to be on school ground, full time within the next two months.