Bomb Squad to Sweep Columbia Falls Junior High After Threat

By Beacon Staff

A bomb squad was called to sweep Columbia Falls Junior High School this week after a written threat was discovered in a bathroom.

Columbia Falls Superintendent Mike Nicosia said administrators determined the threat was not credible after an investigation, but followed through with proper protocol and asked for a bomb squad from Malmstrom Air Force Base to sweep the school Thursday night.

Nicosia said parents have been notified, and the school is asking them to send students to school without backpacks on Friday. Officers will be stationed throughout school and staff will be checking backpacks at the facility’s entrances throughout the day, according to the superintendent.

“After our investigation, we were able to assess the situation as not being credible,” Nicosia said. “Even though we don’t believe it’s credible at all we still are going to take precautions.”

An investigation was launched after the school’s janitorial staff found a short sentence written in a girls’ bathroom that said there would be a bomb in the school Friday. Nicosia said video surveillance helped identify potentially more than one suspect and that a student or students between the age of 13-14 were questioned. Nicosia declined to elaborate further.

No evacuation or lockdown took place.

Schools across the state have been the target of multiple bomb threats in recent weeks, although no incidents have occurred.

A 16-year-old Capital High School student in Helena was charged with two counts of felony intimidation after Helena schools received three bomb threats between March 17-19 against the city’s high school and elementary schools. He was charged Wednesday in youth court in Lewis and Clark County.

Police say the boy told investigators he collaborated with a 14-year-old boy from Dublin, Calif., to call in two of the three bomb threats made last week.

A Frenchtown student was suspended and cited for criminal mischief and disorderly conduct Monday after school staff determined he was responsible for multiple threats at the junior high school, including writing a threat on a bathroom wall. The student has been suspended and further punishment, including expulsion, could occur, according to administrators.

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