Durango School District 9-R sent an initial notice about 3:30 p.m. Monday to families that were affected by bomb threats made to Park, Needham and Riverview elementary schools, said Julie Popp, the district’s spokeswoman, in an email to The Durango Herald.
Popp said an update to the initial message was made around 4 p.m. after police provided additional information to the school district.
A third alert was sent to a wider range of parents in the school district at 6:15 p.m. that went to all staff members and families with students at the three schools. Popp did not explain why the district did not inform more parents of the bomb threats in its initial message.
Durango Police Cmdr. Rita Warfield said the false bomb threats were made by an unidentified caller at 2:25 p.m. to the three schools back-to-back.
Warfield said the calls to all three schools came from the same number. The caller falsely claimed multiple explosive devices were in each school.
Several parents expressed frustration Monday afternoon on Facebook that they were not notified sooner by the school district.
However, Jacque Ireland, who has a first-grade son attending Kids Camp at Park Elementary, said she was pleased by how the incident was handled.
She said she received a text message, a telephone call and an email initially, and that was followed by a more detailed message later in the evening that informed her the threat had been resolved.
“So many people were upset, but I was grateful about how it was handled. It was professionally done,” she said.
The district did share the Durango Police Department’s Facebook post about the incident around 4 p.m.
Popp said messages went through the district’s alert notification system, which includes a voice call and an email. She said the initial message to affected families also included a text message.
“In an emergency situation, the district follows police direction around the incident to first and foremost ensure the safety of all affected staff and students,” Popp said in an email.
After ensuring the safety of students and staff, Popp said the communication policy is to get “pertinent and available facts out to the affected staff and families.”
The district also strives to inform guests and community partners who are in 9-R facilities “so that they may contact their members or families as they deem necessary,” she said in an email.
Monday was an early release day for the district and fewer students were at the schools. However, some after-school activities were underway.
Popp said procedures to handle an emergency situation do not change during early release days.