Reporting Esme Murphy
CHASKA, Minn. (WCCO) – A threat to Chaska High School put the school on lockdown Tuesday morning and canceled classes for students later in the day.
Police and the school officials are not giving details of the threat, but this type of problem is becoming more common in Minnesota and across the nation.
First Thing In The Morning
Students were just arriving at Chaska High School, located on the 500 block of Pioneer Trail, when they heard the lockdown announcement. Student Taylor Mueller said it came over the loudspeaker.
“They were like it’s an internal lockdown…get to a classroom, it’s not a drill,” she said.
Another student, Tanner Kolle, described the experience as “pretty terrifying,” because the school didn’t give students “much information at all.”
Police searched the building. One student posted a picture of an officer armed with an assault rifle on Twitter. Anxious parents like Greg Thompson waited outside.
“With all the stuff that has been going on lately, it’s a little scary,” he said.
His daughter, Samantha, had been texting him during the lockdown.
“Our texts go back and forth, and she said: ‘Dad, I am scared’ and you don’t like to hear that from any of your children,” Thompson said.
Finally, the all-clear call came.
“They finally told us cops were coming to the classroom, and we felt better about that announcement ‘cause we kind of new it was more safe now,” said student Katie Betker.
Students were sent home for the day at around 10:30 am.
As a precaution, other schools in the district were also put on a lockdown, and buses were diverted from the area.
The school district, citing concern about possible copycat incidents, is not releasing any details of the threats. Students say they think the school handled the threat the right way.
“Our teachers did an amazing job,” Mueller said. “It was amazing.”
The school district says any student who was found to have called in a threat would face expulsion. There would almost certainly be severe criminal penalties. In Montana, a man who called in a school shooting threat after Newtown, Conn., was charged with felony intimidation, which carries a sentence of 10 years in prison.
All after-school activities are still on as planned, including a home varsity girls basketball game against Farmington.
Classes will continue as usual Wednesday morning.