Northwestern Montana school districts close due to threats

KALISPELL, Mont. - More than two dozen public and private schools in a northwestern Montana county canceled classes on Thursday after the school districts received threats via text message. The sheriff's office says there are multiple persons of interest in the case.

Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Mark Flatau sent parents a message saying the Columbia Falls school district received threats Wednesday specifically targeting schools in their district. He says other schools in Flathead County were included in or received additional threats.

County Superintendent of Schools Jack Eggensperger did not elaborate on the nature of the threats, but said they are being investigated by law enforcement.

The closures include schools in Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Evergreen, Kalispell and Whitefish, along with private schools and Flathead Valley Community College.

"There are multiple persons of interest being interviewed this morning following electronic threats sent to multiple schools in northwest Montana," said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry. "We are taking these threats very seriously. In light of recent events, everyone in the community is on edge."

The threats began hours after a high school student in Freeman, Wash., shot and killed a fellow student and injured three others.

"Certainly anywhere you go where there's a school, there's a threat," Curry said.

Whitefish Schools Superintendent Dr. Heather Davis Schmidt says that parents can contact the Whitefish School District office at (406) 862-8640 with any questions.

Flathead Valley Community College has also called off Thursday classes.

The following schools are listed as closed, according to the Flathead County website:

BIGFORK ELEMENTARY

BIGFORK HIGH SCHOOL

CAYUSE PRAIRIE

COLUMBIA FALLS ELEMENTARY

COLUMBIA FALLS HIGH SCHOOL

CRESTON

DEER PARK

EVERGREEN

FAIR-MONT-EGAN

FLATHEAD HIGH SCHOOL

GLACIER HIGH SCHOOL

HELENA FLATS

KALISPELL ELEMENTARY

KALISPELL MIDDLE SCHOOL

KILA

MARION

OLNEY-BISSELL

PLEASANT VALLEY

SMITH VALLEY

SOMERS/LAKESIDE

SWAN RIVER

WEST GLACIER

WEST VALLEY

WHITEFISH ELEMENTARY

WHITEFISH HIGH SCHOOL

Non-public schools

KALISPELL MONTESSORI

ST. MATTHEW'S

STILLWATER CHRISTIAN

TRINITY LUTHERAN

WHITEFISH CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

WOODLAND MONTESSORI

KPAX.com contributed to this report.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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