Classes will resume tomorrow in the Johnston Community School District after many parents in the Des Moines suburb received threatening text messages Monday night.
School was canceled today as a precaution, but Johnston Police Chief Dennis McDaniel now says it’s unlikely the threats are credible.
“At this time, we cannot substantiate any credible or imminent threats to any of our schools, students, parents or staff,” McDaniel said at a news conference late this morning. The texts, which came from a number with an 818 area code, threatened acts of violence at multiple Johnston schools.
“We believe it’s very likely that these messages will continue and it’s very likely they’ll come from a new number or a different series of numbers,” McDaniel said. He’s encouraging parents or anyone who receives the messages to report them to police.
“We’re encouraging the public not to engage someone should they receive this threat, not to banter back and forth with the individual, simply report it to law enforcement so that we may continue our investigation,” McDaniel said. When classes resume tomorrow (Wednesday) in Johnston, there will be an increased law enforcement presence. McDaniel said his department is working on the case with other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, and they’ve contacted private cyber security experts.
(Thanks to Sarah Boden, Iowa Public Radio)