Update: Person Responsible for Making Threats Against Bemidji School Apprehended by Police
Update: According to a letter sent to Bemidji Area Schools staff from Superintendent Jeremy Olson, the threat that prompted officials to close district facilities on Wednesday was directed to Bemidji High School.
Original Story Follows:
After ISD 31 officials closed all Bemidji schools today in light of credible threats made against one school, the district says that the person responsible for making the threats has been apprehended by police.
Bemidji Police Captain David LaZella reports that on Tuesday evening, the Beltrami County Emergency Communications Center received text-to-911 messages indicating a specific threat to an ISD 31 school (unnamed by police and school officials) and a staff member within Bemidji city limits. Law enforcement initially could not identify a suspect or the origin of the messages.
According to Bemidji Area Schools, at around 9:45 p.m., law enforcement notified them of the threats and said they were specific and credible, prompting police to recommend all Bemidji schools be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 6. ISD 31 officials then implemented an e-learning day.
The Bemidji Police Department says that around 11 p.m., patrol officers and detectives identified the phone number from which the threats originated and that after a search involving third-party cellular resellers, they determined the account holder’s identity and traced the number to a residence in Bemidji. Officers then arrested a juvenile male for Felony Terroristic Threats.
The school district says that according to law enforcement, there is no longer any threat to the district. In a press release sent out this morning, Bemidji school officials thanked area police for their work in keeping schools and the community safe.
The district adds that although they considered pivoting back to in-person learning after the individual was apprehended, they did not think they could do so in such a short amount of time and with the number of staff that would have to be notified, so e-learning remains in place for today.
Updated 12-6-2023 at 9:16 a.m. with information from the Bemidji Police Department.