School threats: Preparing for the worst

Local school districts and law enforcement work together to investigate school threats and prepare for the worst-case scenario.

If you're a parent, like so many of us are, it's hard to imagine anything as horrific as a shooting happening at our kids' school. It's something area school districts and law enforcement say they take very seriously.

In fact, an email was sent to Riverglen Junior High parents on Tuesday after a threat was written on a bathroom wall inside the Boise school, referencing February 14. The district didn't believe it was credible, but gave parents the option to keep their kids home.

Loading ...

We talked with several parents who kept their kids home on Wednesday, saying it's better to be safe than sorry. Our local school districts and law enforcement say they feel the same and work together to prepare for the worst.

"You don't want to go through life being afraid but you do want to be prepared," said Eric Exline, who is the spokesperson for the West Ada School District.

Exline says lockdown drills are done twice a year at schools where they practice what to do in the case of an actual threat.

"What you're really practicing for is how to keep yourself safe until law enforcement gets there," said Exline.

He says staff and students learn to run, hide, fight. Fight is the last resort.

"If someone gets inside that locked room look for anything you can use as a weapon, and that's all really part of that training," said Exline.

Police get involved in the drills as well. Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea with the Meridian Police Department tells us when there is an actual threat they work the threat until they can disprove it or prove it is a legitimate threat.

Basterrechea says it's so important because too many people across our country have actually been carrying them out.

"So we have to take every threat seriously, and we do," said Basterrechea.

He adds that parents should do the same.

"It's not acceptable to ignore a threat," said Basterrechea. "Not acceptable from the kids' stance and certainly not acceptable for a parent to try and ignore that, especially with the tragedies we've dealt with nationwide and we continue to deal with."

Loading ...

School districts typically warn parents before holding a lockdown drill. The West Ada School District says it does make everyone a little anxious thinking about "worst-case scenario" but confidence comes with knowing what to do.