Bomb threat disrupts school day


Maple Lake Elementary students are ushered across Highway 55 during a school evacuation due to a bomb threat at Maple Lake High School on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Elementary students were sent to St. Timothy’s School gymn and St. Timothy’s Church basement.

 

A message written on a restroom wall in Maple Lake High School ended school activities in the district on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
The threat was reported to Principal Dave Hansen, who discussed the issue with fellow administrators and law enforcement.
"We – being myself, Dave, (Elementary Principal) Kris Harlan, (School Resource Officer) Jeff Fox and his boss, Sgt. Eric Leander – talked about our options and what we should do," Superintendent Mark Redemske said. "After thinking it through, someone has to make a decision. I thought the best thing was to evacuate and send kids to our cold-weather evacuation sites."
High school students were sent to Bethlehem United Church of Christ, kindergarten through third graders walked to St. Timothy's School gym and fourth through sixth graders went to St. Timothy's Church basement.
"I sent out a SchoolReach automated call so parents knew what was happening," Redemske said. 
He was careful to explain the situation in light of recent events at schools throughout the country.
"I thought it was important to say bomb threat because we hear of so many things happening in schools," Redemske said. "I wanted them to know exactly what it was, otherwise you create questions and confusion."
Law enforcement officials were able to respond to the situation in a timely manner.
"By the time most of the school resource officers in the county were here, we went through the school with keys and opened the lockers so they could check them and went through the different rooms. The Wright County Sheriff's Department completed a search of the building and found nothing of concern."
That search concluded shortly after 3 p.m., about four hours after the message was found at 11:10 a.m.
After-school activities were also canceled, Redemske sent out an updated SchoolReach message, updated the message on the school's main phone line and added a message to the district's website.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.
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