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Wednesday, July 15, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Phone threats put three Spokane-area schools on lockdown

Three more schools in the Spokane area were locked down Wednesday after receiving threats by phone. Several local schools received similar phone calls that forced lockdowns earlier this year.

“It’s getting a little nerve-wracking,” said Spokane Public Schools spokesman Kevin Morrison. “It is causing a real tie-up of county and city resources.”

Wednesday’s threats were received all around 1 p.m. They were phoned into South Pines Elementary in the Central Valley School District, Hutton Elementary in Spokane and Arcadia Elementary in the Deer Park School District. All three immediately went into lockdown and the Deer Park School District took an additional step of locking down all of its school buildings. Law enforcement officers were able to quickly clear the schools.

Northwood Middle School in the Mead School District received a similar threat earlier this week.

“This call was similar to the anonymous, digitized calls received by other area schools earlier this week,” said a statement released by the Deer Park School District. “It appears that this same call was sent to many other schools in the area and potentially throughout the West Coast at the same time.”

Phone calls have included bomb threats or threats of active shooters, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. “They appear to be computer-generated or at least electronically modified,” he said of the phone calls.

Local law enforcement officials have been working with the FBI since multiple school threats were received in April, Knezovich said, and investigators are working to determine how widespread the problem is.

“It is going on in other areas,” he said.

Officials said they have to treat every threat as though it could be real.

“It is frustrating,” said Central Valley School District spokeswoman Marla Nunberg. “You have to take every threat seriously because you never know which is a real threat and which is a prank threat.”

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