ORONO, Minn. (WCCO) – It was a scary day for students and their families at Orono High School on Wednesday, but everyone is safe.
A threat around lunch time forced the school to go on lock down, keeping students locked in classrooms until late in the afternoon. All after-school activities have been canceled.
Orono police say two threats were made to Orono Public Schools on Wednesday. One threat was vague, while the other was a direct threat of gun violence at Orono Schools. Police said they made an arrest in connection with the threats Wednesday afternoon. A student was arrested on suspicion of terroristic threats. Police say the threat came from a student inside the school. The student was arrested at Orono High School.
Police say the student arrested, and a person of interest, were in a classroom during the lock down. Neither of them had weapons.
WCCO’s Reg Champan spoke with students at the high school.
Parents of Orono Public Schools schools lined up in their vehicles along Old Crystal Bay Road in Orono for hours, looking at a barricade that separates them from their children inside the school.
The line of parents sitting in their cars stretched for blocks as most had their faces in their phones, glued to social media and looking for any word on what was going on inside. Some students had phones and were able to send pictures to their parent of them sitting in the dark inside locked classrooms.
While outside in the hallways, SWAT teams moved about, securing the building. Parents we spoke with say seeing pictures of their kids is the only thing helping them deal with the unknown.
“The only reason why we got that picture is because I told my boy ‘I need to see you. I don’t care about nothing else, just let me see you and know that you’re OK.’ We’re here waiting for him,” Parent Carlos Perez said.
Parents we spoke with say students were told to be quiet, while others were fed snacks until the all clear was given.
Students at the Discovery Center were dismissed for the day early in the afternoon. School officials said students from Schumann Elementary School and Orono Intermediate School were dismissed at 3:45 p.m.
Orono police were investigating an incident that happened Tuesday night, referencing a social media post involving a gun that Orono students brought to the attention of authorities. Police say after an investigation, it was determined there was no specific threat against Orono schools, students or staff.
Officials say Wednesday’s lock down was also not related to Tuesday night’s incident. Police say the lock down was lifted shortly before 5 p.m.