Friday, August 12, 2022

Bigfork Schools and law enforcement look for leads as bomb threat investigation continues

Bigfork Eagle | December 22, 2021 12:00 AM

A message sent to parents from Bigfork Schools administrative team said officials are still searching for the person who left a message indicating a bomb threat on Friday morning.

Bigfork High School was evacuated and cleared after the bomb threat was found written on a bathroom wall. Thirteen deputies were on site and the high school was searched, but they didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. School administrators said at the time they did not believe the threat was credible but proceeded with their Emergency Operation Plan out of caution. They said buses were running and all students remaining had been taken home within an hour and a half of the threat. School activities were also cancelled over the weekend, but school was back in session this week for the remaining few days before Christmas break.

Schools were already on heightened security after a later unsubstantiated threat to Glacier High School in Kalispell the day before. That threat calling for violence was posted on the social media site TikTok and referenced "GHS." The post did not specifically mention Glacier High School or Kalispell. Upon further investigation, the district determined the threat was not credible. Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Micah Hill said the post could be traced to a nationwide TikTok challenge and that schools across the country with the abbreviation GHS were responding in a similar fashion, including Granger High School in Utah. The TikTok challenge encourages students to make false threats of violence as a way to get out of school.

On Friday, Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said he didn’t believe the threat at Bigfork High School was directly connected to the TikTok challenge. But school administrators said in their message to parents that they believe that part of the reason this occurred was due to social media’s influence and rumors spreading regarding the TikTok threat. They are asking parents to talk to students, and tell them that if they are aware of a possible unsafe situation to tell a trusted adult. If parents have questions, they are encouraged to reach out to their child’s building administrator.

The person or people responsible for this threat have not been apprehended at this time and officials are still working on finding the culprit. When they are apprehended, school administrators said they will request charges to be pressed by law enforcement and there will be disciplinary action taken by the school. It has been requested that anyone who has any information that could help lead to the person or people responsible should contact Bigfork Schools or the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.