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Havre schools deal with, warn about ransomware

Buses decorated in memory of long-time driver Willson


Last updated 2/12/2020 at 12:18pm

Courtesy photo

Purple and black ribbons decorate a Havre Public Schools bus in memory of longtime driver Dan Willson, who died Monday.

The Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees heard about a problem the district had with Ryuk ransomware and enrollment numbers at it's monthly meeting Tuesday.

Havre Public Schools superintendent Andy Carlson said in an interview after the meeting that last Tuesday at 6:30 a.m., the school district discovered they had a Ryuk ransomware on their computers.

"One of our primary concerns was our student information and our employee information, there was no reason to believe any of that was impacted," he said. "We basically unplugged from the internet and from there our tech guys have done a remarkable job."

He said all schools were up and running by last Friday and the district has a forensic group looking at everything that was impacted.

  He added that he encourages people in the community to read up on Ryuk to know what it is and what it could do.

If anyone in the community receives an email from anyone in Havre Public Schools and the email looks suspicious, Carlson asked that they call the person listed as the sender and not to click on a link.

The board also heard that enrollment numbers from the public schools in the area have gone up in some schools and down in others from the fall semester to the spring semester.

"Highland Park Early Primary School actually grew from 307 to 312, Lincoln-McKinley Primary School dropped by 10 from 254 to 244, Sunnyside dropped seven students (from 264 to 257), the middle school actually grew by nine students (from 401 to 410) from fall to spring," Carlson said. "(The) low mark, unfortunately, was our high school went from 504 to 485."

He said it was three or four years ago when the enrollment numbers took a big dive.

"Everything considered, the fact that two of our schools actually grew, that is pretty significant. They didn't grow leaps and bounds, but they didn't go down either, so that's kind of nice," he said. "Our eighth grade class is a nice sized, 148 kids. They will be going to Havre High next year, that'll help us with the enrollment up there."

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Board members raise their hand to approve the minutes of the last meeting Monday during Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees Meeting in the Havre Middle School gymnasium.

Highland Park Early Primary School Principal Mark Irvin provided an area report from his  school and talked about his school's relationship to Montana State University-Northern.

He said he has students from Northern who are education students who not only come in and observe the classes at Highland Park, but also are student teachers.

Carlson also told the board that Dan Willson, longtime route and activities bus driver for Havre Public Schools, died Monday, and the buses are decorated in his honor. 

If anyone sees anyone purple and black ribbons on the school buses - in honor of Willson's favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings - it is in remembrance for Wilson.

The next special board meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 12:15 p.m. at Robins School Administration Building. The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, March. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at Havre Middle School.


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