By Alan Sorensen
A threatening telephone call that led to the evacuation of Devlin Elementary School shortly before 3 p.m. Monday is being actively investigated by Havre police and school officials.
Police were notified of the call at about 2:22 p.m. and officials began evacuating the school approximately 20 minutes later.
Assistant Police Chief Kevin Olson said school personnel received two calls from a younger-sounding person.
The caller reportedly prefaced the threat against the school with obscene comments during the first call. On the second call, the caller was again abusive to personnel and used obscenities after saying Jokes.
We followed our emergency procedures per policy and had the students moved from Devlin to the alternate site at the Episcopal Church at about 10 minutes to 3, Superintendent Kirk Miller said. Parents were then directed to pickup their children at the alternative site and bus routes were changed to make pickups at the Episcopal Church rather than at Devlin School.
Havre firefighters were notified of the call and were put on full alert. Fire Chief Mike Badgley said they were prepared to respond quickly if anything developed.
Officers, along with school staff, then conducted a cursory search of the school building and found nothing, Olson said.
Miller said teachers met the students at the door of the school this morning to give them whatever support they might need. At 9 a.m. today, Miller met with city and county officials at a previously scheduled meeting to discuss emergency tactics in light of the recent tragedies at Littleton, Colo., and Taber, Alberta.
Miller also was preparing a note explaining Mondays emergency situation and the districts policy for Devlin students to take home to their parents today.
Miller said the district will not tolerate threats, and added that everyone reacted well to the emergency situation.
Our procedures worked very well, he said. And the kids evacuated just the way they were supposed to.
All local agencies are cooperating in the investigation.
Were in the process of working with the police department in getting to the bottom of the emergency situation, Miller said.
Due to the other things that have been happening recently, the community needs to know that we are going to err on the side of safety for the kids.
In the letters he is sending home to the Devlin parents this afternoon, Miller said, It was determined later in the afternoon on Monday that the emergency situation was nothing more than a threat with no foundation.
Badgley and Miller both expressed concern that publicity about the hoax call may lead to copycat threats. They were concerned that threats could cause unanticipated dangers for children and that further calls would result in additional expense and lost time for the district and local agencies as the school year draws to a close.