Threats via social media prompted three North Iowa school districts to go into lock-down Wednesday afternoon, while another canceled classes for the day.
Algona and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows school officials reported receiving threats against their districts late Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.
One person was taken into custody in relation to threats made against Algona Schools, Superintendent Marty Fonley said in a district post on Facebook Wednesday evening.
Wednesday evening a 16-year-old Algona youth was charged with threat of terrorism, a Class D felony, for making a threat of violence on a social media post Tuesday evening, said Kendall Pals, Algona police chief.
The district had canceled classes Wednesday but planned to resume school as normal Thursday.
“The threat itself has been deemed, by law enforcement, to be non-credible and a completely isolated incident involving one individual,” Fonley said in the post. “There has been no connection found between this incident and what is happening in other places throughout the state and nation.”
Johnston Schools, located in suburban Des Moines, canceled classes Tuesday and started late Wednesday due to threatening text messages parents and others received.
Investigators said they couldn’t substantiate "any credible or imminent threat" against the district, and noted similar threats have been reported across the country.
"Some of these are likely to be copycats or and hoaxes, others may be a continuation of threats from the group that initially targeted Johnston,” the Johnston Police Department said in a news release Wednesday.
The department said the threat has been deemed as a “cyber-crime” in which hackers prey upon “our worst fears in a day and age where school violence has become all too real.”
"Basically, being general here, it was a threat of violence at the school," Pals said Wednesday. The district referred to it as an unspecified “threat against the Algona school system.”
As a result of a social media threat against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, the district and neighboring Eagle Grove and Belmond-Klemme went into lock-down Wednesday afternoon. The lock-down was later lifted.
CGD "had information about a social media message in which a person made an indirect threat on a school we assumed to be in our area, no name," Superintendent Bob Olson said via email Wednesday afternoon. Olson wouldn't say what the message involved, or what type of social media it was posted on.
The message had been shared with a "student at a local high school," the Wright County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
"We take these threats very seriously and will work closely with local law enforcement and the school districts to ensure the safety of their students and staff," Wright County Sheriff Jason Schluttenhofer said in the release.
Schluttenhofer said there is "no credible threat to any of our schools." Law enforcement will be present at local schools the next few days as a precaution.
CDD was in lock-down until law enforcement declared an "all-clear," Olson said.
The district had planned to dismiss early at 1:30 p.m., but Olson said buses and students were held until the "all-clear" was issued around 2:20 p.m.
Citing ongoing investigation, Olson said he wasn't able to provide any additional information.
Other schools throughout the state have also reported receiving threats this week.
On Wednesday, officials in eastern Iowa said they were investigating and monitoring threats posted on social media about a possible shooting at Davenport North High School.
Davenport Schools said in a statement classes would continue as usual, as law enforcement had determined the threats were not credible. About 300 of the high school's 1,100 students stayed home Wednesday.
Storm Lake High School in northwestern Iowa was evacuated Monday afternoon after a bomb threat was discovered written on the wall of a men's restroom. The building was later determined to be safe.