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Threat that closed Lakeville area schools deemed not credible

Both Lakeville's superintendent and police say the safety and security of students was the driving force in the decision to close all district schools Friday.

LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Police and Lakeville area school officials say an investigation has determined a bomb threat that closed all schools in the district Friday is not credible.

Lakeville area schools superintendent Michael Baumann and Lakeville Police Chief Jeff Long met with reporters early Friday afternoon, to explain the sequence of events that sparked the decision to have students stay home. 

Baumann said a bomb threat was emailed in to four deans at Lakeville South High School, but added that the communication also mentioned other elementary and middle schools in the district as well. School officials called Lakeville police, and a decision was quickly made to shut down the district. 

"We take all the threats we get very seriously, obviously we have the children of this community to be concerned about, " Baumann said, emphasizing that the safety and security of students is the number one factor in decisions like the one made today. 

Chief Long told reporters that his department immediately called in bomb squads from police departments in Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul, and also used the services of agents from the ATF and FBI. He said exhaustive searches were conducted on all buildings mentioned in the threat, and all were found to be clear. 

"Some people may ask why we had such an aggressive or assertive investigation when so many of these threats are found to be false," Chief Long explained. "We all know that in today's society, many of these threats are no longer false."

Officials say a detective from the Dakota County Electronic Crimes Task Force was assigned to the case, and is currently working on tracing the email in an attempt to find the person responsible. 

District leaders sent out a message early Friday informing families, students and staff that all K-12 students will participate in distance learning from home, and follow their previous distance learning schedule. 

All district staff were also told to work remotely. The Lakeville Area Schools office will also be closed to the public until further notice.

"With the limited information we have at this time and to support the investigation, please do not report to our school buildings or district facilities until further notice," the district requested. 

Early morning students already on site, including those involved in Kid Zone or Wonder Zone programming, were moved to Hosanna Church where parents picked them up. All other early childhood programs were canceled for the day.

Superintendent Baumann said all activities for Friday are canceled, with those scheduled for tomorrow to go on as planned. He explained that parents have received communications from the district to help them and their children process today's events. 

Video shot outside Lakeville South High School shows a significant police presence, with police vehicles moving in and out of the parking lot, and officers on scene. 

School officials promise to keep the community updated on events as they unfold. 

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