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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bonners Ferry schools see bomb threats return

After a bomb threat scrawled in a boys’ bathroom prompted evacuation of the high school last week, Bonners Ferry officials hope they are not in for a repeat of last year’s wave of disruptive threats.

The message found in a toilet stall last Thursday was similar to those left by students last year at Bonners Ferry High School. It’s the 11th bomb threat – all of them hoaxes – the school district has received over the past year.

All male students at the high school lost their lunchtime open campus privilege for two days, a sanction meant to put pressure on students to report anything they know about the threats.

The school also imposed a closed campus for all students last spring in response to the string of threats, and the staff has monitored bathrooms to keep tabs on who uses them and when.

Richard Conley, superintendent of the Boundary County School District, said Tuesday he is hopeful this will be the end of it.

“I think the message got sent. We’ve had a very, very good response from the student body,” Conley said.

Three young people were found responsible for bomb threats last school year. One student was expelled, another was prosecuted and a third person – not a student in the district – was also prosecuted.

The threats, which have included the word “bomb” and a time, have prompted multiple school evacuations and taken police and fire officials away from other responsibilities, Conley said.

“It puts a hardship on our first responders because they’re up here taking care of nothing when other things could be happening in the community,” he said. “And that’s what bothers me a lot: ‘Hey kid, do you understand that you may be costing somebody their life because you’re playing this kind of prank?’ ”