Writing on Wall Sparks Concern at Bozeman School
A written statement found on the wall of the bathroom at Chief Joseph Middle School caused some concern Tuesday, May 14, prompting school officials to release a notice to parents and students.
According to the school, a vague written statement was found that could have been interpreted as a threat. School resource officers investigated but did not find reason for alarm.
Several students heard about the message and were reportedly talking about it, prompting the school to install a resource officer for the remainder of this week.
The school then felt the need to send out a second notice to parents and students on Wednesday, May 15, stressing that the threat was not found to be credible.
One person on social media described a "heavy police presence" at Chief Joseph in response to the investigation, but comments from Bozeman police did not support that statement.
Bozeman Police Department Patrol Captain Dana McNeil confirmed that a single patrol officer was sent to the school, not because police believed there was a credible threat, but simply as a precautionary measure.
McNeil confirmed that some parents took their children out of school for the day after hearing about the incident.
Here is the notice sent Wednesday by school officials to students and parents:
Yesterday, we communicated to you about a vague written statement that was found on a bathroom wall. Based on the investigation, a security team, made up of district and building administration and law enforcement, determined that the issue was not credible.
We do realize that school safety is on everyone’s mind particularly with national news reports. We want you to know that we never minimize concerns. Therefore, our school resource officer is present and highly visible in the building. All staff members are aware of the situation and there is a very, very strong presence of adults in all hallways and bathrooms.
Unfortunately, an unfounded rumor has started at CJMS about a school shooting. The rumor has spread among students, particularly through social media including SnapChat and Instagram. Some students who have heard this rumor have contacted our school counselors and others have contacted their parent directly.
We are proceeding with our school day in a normal fashion, particularly because the rumor has not affected the majority of students. However, rumors like this certainly cause fear. We are meeting with any students who have questions or concerns and we encourage you to have conversations with your child/ren about safety and the harmfulness of rumors. Additionally we are having teachers read the following message to students today.