PRAIRIE CITY – Grant County schools went back to normal Monday after an anonymous threat triggered an emergency response at three campuses last week.
Sgt. Damon Rand of the John Day Police Department said the events began about 1:35 p.m. Thursday, when Prairie City School received an anonymous call saying someone was coming to the school to shoot some of the kids.
School officials called police and put the school on lockdown, telling students to stay in their locked classrooms.
A short time later, the students were sent to the gym, where they were told to call their parents to pick them up from school. The school also sent word to parents to pick up their children immediately.
One student said his class at first assumed it was a drill, but realized there was a threat as the lockdown continued.
The school was cleared and police searched the building, but found nothing of alarm, Rand said.
The situation also triggered a precautionary external lockdown at John Day’s Grant Union Junior-Senior High School and Humbolt Elementary in Canyon City.
All the lockdowns ended without incident.
Rand said an initial investigation traced the phone call to an IP address, indicating it came from a computer. That means the caller could have been local – “or from anywhere,” he said.
Rand said that while it could be someone’s idea of “a very bad joke,” police were continuing the investigation. He said the caller, if found, would face charges.
John Day Police were joined by the Oregon State Police and Grant County Sheriff’s Office in dealing with the unfolding situation at the three schools.
Sheriff Glenn Palmer said that while there was no threat at the John Day campuses, the lockdown was done as a precaution.
The activity brought an early end to the four-day school week.
School officials canceled all Grant Union athletic practices and activities Thursday afternoon, as a further precaution.
The Special Olympics vs. Law Enforcement basketball fundraiser game, which was going to be held that night at Grant Union, also was canceled. Organizers said this week they are working on a new schedule for the event.