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Jefferson, Betz elementary schools receive phone threats

Telephone threats put two area elementary schools on lockdown as police swept buildings and parking lots before releasing students Tuesday afternoon.

One threat was made to Jefferson Elementary School on Spokane’s South Hill just before 1 p.m., only minutes before students were due to be released early for parent-teacher conferences. About a third of the 520 students had already left the building at 123 E. 37th Ave., said Spokane Public Schools spokesman Kevin Morrison. The remaining students were taken to the gym for safety.

“The nature of the threat was such that we would keep the students confined in the gym,” said Morrison, who declined to give specifics about the threat.

A Spokane Police Department news release said the phone call received in the school office said there would be a “terrorist attack” at the school.

Police responded and helped school officials evacuate students, Cpl. Jordan Ferguson said. Students were released around 1:30 p.m. and police finished a room-by-room search of the school around 3:30 p.m. Nothing suspicious was found during the search, which included the use of a bomb-sniffing dog.

The other threat involved Betz Elementary in Cheney shortly after 1 p.m. A woman called and said she was driving with a bomb and threatened to set it off at the school, said Cheney police Chief John Hensley.

Children were moved to the adjacent high school building as police searched the school and parking lots, but nothing was found. Students returned to the building after it was cleared.


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