Police explain uptick in school threats and how they're respondi - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Police explain uptick in school threats and how they're responding

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Nashwauk joins a growing list of Northland school districts, responding to threats of violence in schools since the Parkland shooting, extending from Pine City, to International Falls - including two in the Twin Ports.

According to Assistant Superior Police Chief Matt Markon the incident at Superior high school last week was resolved quickly thanks to quick communication.

"As it happened with last week's incident, one of the school officials was aware of it right away," he said. "He informed our high school liaison officer and she informed the department supervisors and the crew of officers that was working."

Markon said that meant officers were on scene quickly as well and police worked with the school to resolve the threat that morning.

Though if you think you've been hearing about far more incidents, according to Sgt. Michael LaFontaine with the Duluth police, you're not alone.

"There usually is a little uptick and some of that is more awareness," he said.

LaFontaine said that means fewer things fly under the radar, compared to what he typically sees.

"What usually happens is when we investigate those, we find out that information was available long before it came to attention no one reported it," he said. "A lot of times it's kids hearing it from kids and they kind of think dismiss it as he's just talking goofy or he's not really gonna do it."

He said there's typically more communication following shootings like we saw in Parkland.

Principal Tim Roweder from Proctor High School said in his administration communication is a key part of responding to any sort of threat or crisis.

"We all get around the table and say, look let's pretend we got a threat, What's step one? What are police gonna do? What are we gonna do? How are we gonna do that?" he said.

Part of that, he explained meant a shift towards using plain language over code words.

He said, that way,  it's easier to communicate, and anyone inside the building can understand what potential threat they may be facing so they have a clearer idea how to respond.

Roweder also said his district works to keep communication open between his staff, the police, and any school facing their own incident.

"You know the Hill Cities and I-Falls and those when they do get those things there's some sharing that goes on. 'Okay, what did you see how did you handle it?'" he said. "Just so we can learn from each other as well."

Police departments hope that communication and awareness lasts, while the uptick in threats goes down.

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