The Williston police are still asking for information from the public about a bomb threat Friday that caused the evacuation of Williston High School.
School opened as normal on Monday morning. Students and staff had to enter through the front of the building and Williston police officers were on hand. There were no additional threats, and police were there as a precautionary measure, according to Sgt. Detective Danielle Hendricks with the Williston police.
Attendance was nearly normal on Monday, according to Peter Frankman, a spokesman for Williston Public School District No. 1.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, district superintendent Michael Campbell wrote that the district was going back to its normal procedures. Starting today, students and staff will again be able to enter using whichever door they used in the past, while visitors are required to enter through the main school entrance.
“Though we are moving past this incident, we hope it brings about an increased vigilance from all in the Coyote Community,” Campbell wrote. “If you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, tell someone. It is better to be overzealous in caution than to regret missing something important.”
He thanked the community, students and staff for the way they have acted since Friday’s evacuation.
“Your poise and steady demeanor made a world of difference during an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation,” he wrote.
He also thanked the first responders and police who assisted during the evacuation and subsequent search Friday.
Someone called the school around 1:13 p.m. on Friday with the bomb threat, and school officials immediately called the Williston police. District officials and police decided a short time later to evacuate the high school.
“It’s one of those threats you have to take very seriously,” Hendricks said.
The evacuation started shortly before 2 p.m. and was finished by 2:05 p.m., Frankman said. Officers from Williston, the Williams County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Highway Patrol set up a perimeter around the school and students who didn’t have transportation available right away were taken to the Williston Fire Department Station No. 3, which is near the high school.
There were between 25 and 30 students taken to the fire station, where their parents were able to pick them up.
Members of the Williams County SWAT Team went through the building to make sure everyone had been evacuated, and then a bomb dog was brought in from the Minot Air Force base to search the building.
The search, which was finished by about 9:30 p.m. on Friday, turned up no evidence of explosives, police said.
In addition to the Williston police, the Sheriff’s Office, the NDHP, the U.S. Air Force and the county’s SWAT team, members of the Williston Fire Department, Williams County Emergency Management and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol were involved with the response Friday.
On Monday, investigators were trying to track down the location of the call, Hendricks said. The FBI was assisting with the investigation.
One reason for the FBI’s involvement is to determine where the calls came from, Hendricks said. Bismarck Legacy High School received a string of bomb threats late last month, and police said some of them have been traced to overseas.
Hendricks said it’s far too early in the investigation to determine whether there is any connection between Friday’s threat in Williston and the threats in Bismarck.
On Friday, Williston police asked anyone who might have information that might help the investigation to call 701-577-1212. Hendricks said the police were still asking for information, especially from students at the high school or their parents.