On Monday, Bozeman School District 7 closed out of precaution due to a suspicious email received by the district. Superintendent Casey Bertram shares what it was like to make the final decision to close all district schools for the safety of staff and students.
Bertram says it was a "very difficult decision to close the whole district."
Late Sunday night, eight staff members from Bozeman School District received a suspicious email. Bertram says the district took action immediately.
"It was immediately forwarded to law enforcement and to our executive team. We started waking people up and working through the process," says Bertram.
In an email sent to parents, Bertram says law enforcement found a door ajar at Bozeman High School, and out of an abundance of caution, ultimately decided to close the schools. Soon after, the district discovered other districts across the state received the same email and it was not believed to be credible.
As for the open door in Bozeman High School, Superintendent Bertram says it "Ended up being just a coincidence that it just didn't get latched properly for the weekend.”
Once the threat was discredited, Bertram says there was a great relief across the district.
“That's a great feeling. School violence is unfortunately real in our country, and so we take it very seriously," says Bertram.
Superintendent Bertram says hoax threats like this one are something to be aware of.
“They're periodic," he says. "Unfortunately, we're seeing across the country an increasing rate of those.”
As for potential threats in the future, the district is prepared.
“Whether we receive a threat via a phone call or via an email, it's really the contents of that communication," he says. "And then we work closely with law enforcement and their expertise on how to investigate it.”