Officer presence increased at local schools

POSTED: 04:30 PM MST Dec 20, 2012    UPDATED: 06:35 PM MST Dec 20, 2012 
BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho -

Many parents across eastern Idaho are a little nervous and hesitant to send their kids to school Friday.

School administrators attribute that to last week's tragedy in Connecticut, coupled with rumored threats of violence related to "doomsday" scenarios.

Schools and law enforcement are taking every rumor seriously.

In Bonneville School District 93, there are four school resource officers, one in every junior high and high school. Tomorrow, they will be joined by additional deputies that will patrol school grounds both inside and out.

"We treat every threat as if it's real," said Lt. James Foster, Bonneville County Sheriff's Office.

While parents and students have voiced safety concerns for tomorrow's school day, officers said they're prepared.

"We've had officers at the schools now for many years and we're increasing the amount of officers at the schools tomorrow, as well as increasing the amount of patrols around the schools," said Foster.

School administrators said the rumors have become a major distraction. Thursday alone, more than 30 parents have called the district regarding the rumors and its even affected attendance for tomorrow.

"That's always a parents right, if they believe it will be safer for their children at home whether it's a weather-related issue or this, that's their right," said Guy Bliesner, health, safety and security coordinator for D93.

But no matter what you've heard, administrators say it's not credible. The increase of police presence is merely a precaution, but whoever is making and spreading these threats will face serious criminal charges.

"Any type of threats like this against a school there's anything from disturbing the peace all the way up to a terrorist-type threat which can range from a misdemeanor to a felony," said Bliesner.

Officers want to emphasize that it's against the law to make these type of threats and to spread them. And if it's a student, they face immediate expulsion as well.

Idaho Falls School District 91 and the Pocatello School District will also have increased police presence.

The Blackfoot School District will remain in session tomorrow as well.

If you're the parent of a child in district 93, there is a mobile alert system that will notify you of everything going on at your child's school via text message.

To sign up for that, visit http://goo.gl/pNNHg.