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Rumors of violence circulate social media, Bemidji plans additional security Friday

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BEMIDJI – Rumors of possible violence at a school in the area circulated social media Thursday, but no credible threat has been found.

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Bemidji police Sgt. Dave Hanson said Thursday evening that authorities weren’t able to determine the source of the rumors.

“We spent the day trying to track down the source and we weren’t able to find any credible source of any specific threat or incident,” Hanson said.

Still, District 31 Superintendent Jim Hess said there will be added security Friday at area schools.

“We didn’t feel like the threat was a credible threat,” Hess said. “We just need to use good common sense, take a deep breath and do the right thing.”

“Our goal is to keep kids safe, and that’s exactly what we intend to do,” he added.

The situation comes after 26 people, including 20 young children, were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a week ago.

The school district in Grand Forks dispelled rumors of potential violence there Thursday, according to the Grand Forks Herald. A similar situation took place in Moorhead Wednesday, leading to extra officers at the school as a safety precaution, according to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

No specific school was named here, and Hess said the rumor mentioned “BTown,” which may or may not be Bemidji. A call was put out to students’ parents alerting them of the situation, Hess said.

“Your child will more than likely discuss with you some rumors that quickly spread through the social media regarding some area schools including Bemidji High School being targeted for violence,” BHS principal Brian Stefanich wrote in an email to parents. “Please know that our administration is working with the local law enforcement and the FBI to ensure the safety of all staff and students at Bemidji High School.”

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John Hageman
John Hageman covers local business and Grand Forks' legislative delegation. Get more business news at aroundtown.areavoices.com. 
(701) 780-1244
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