No Rocky students or staff in danger Friday following rumored threat

Ryan Fitzmaurice

Rocky Mountain schools entered into a shelter-in-place Friday morning after a rumored threat was reported from a juvenile the day before. Both school and law enforcement officials state that the threat was unsubstantiated, and no staff or students were in danger Friday morning.
Sheriff Ken Blackburn said deputies received a report regarding a concerning comment made by a student-aged person after school on Thursday. Blackburn described it as an offhand comment of a secondhand nature. Blackburn said deputies do not believe that there was any actual plan in place in relation to the alleged threat.
Deputies met with persons of interest Friday morning, and multiple deputies were placed at Rocky Mountain Elementary School and Rocky Mountain Middle and High School.
“We were not willing to take any chances,” Blackburn said. “We implemented a plan out of an abundance of caution, in conjunction with school authorities on Friday morning. It was largely a practice drill. It was a good opportunity to test our response in reaction to a situation like this. There was never any danger to anybody.”
Big Horn County School District No. 1 Superintendent Matt Davidson said Rocky Mountain schools were under a shelter-in-place order until 10 a.m. that morning.
The Department of Family Services has been alerted regarding the juvenile who made the alarming comment, and the case remains under investigation by the sheriff’s department.
Blackburn praised the efforts of deputies Shane Brost and Craig Shidler for their efforts Friday morning.
“Our response and plan were solid and well-executed,” Blackburn said. “Our first and foremost issue is to protect our students, and our deputies did a great job of that.”
Parents and guardians received notification from the administrators of Rocky Mountain schools at 9:16 Friday morning.
“The school received information on a possible threat. Law enforcement investigated and determined that it was not an immediate threat for students,” the notification read. “Law enforcement and the school take all threats very seriously. Rocky Mountain schools went into a shelter in place as a precaution this morning. The middle/high school will continue in a shelter in place until administration has had time to visit with all of our students. We encourage students to share when they hear things even if they feel it is in a joking manner.”
Davidson told the Lovell Chronicle that school administration is continuing to review the situation and will be recommending actions in response moving forward.
“Since Friday, the threat assessment team has continued the process of completing a full threat assessment to review how things were handled and to provide recommendations moving forward,” Davidson said.  “Comments of a threatening nature, even in jest, are beyond inappropriate and are always taken seriously.”