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Police respond to threat at West Fargo’s Freedom Elementary

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The West Fargo Police Department was on the scene at Freedom Elementary School Wednesday afternoon after three threatening phone calls were made which claimed a man would possibly “shoot up the school.”

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In response to the threats, the school went into lockdown.

“The Freedom faculty did an outstanding job implementing the procedures and following their training,” principal Jeff Johnson said in a newsletter to parents. “It is also imperative for us to thank local law enforcement and our district personnel for their help and guidance.”

Police were present at the school Wednesday and Thursday. After further investigation, the calls were deemed a low-level threat and asked families to return to their normal routine.

“Kids are great at bouncing back from things,” Johnson said. “They take their cue from adults and how we handle things.”

Johnson said his staff maintained their composure and was well prepared.

“We have continuously practiced drills,” Johnson said. “We have systems in place to deal with situations and scenarios, hoping that we never have to, but having the confidence to be able to implement those quickly to help help the students and staff.”

In the newsletter, Freedom Elementary counselor Joan Houdek encouraged parents to listen to their children and reassure them of their safety, but not to “over talk” the situation.

“Be careful not to project our own fears onto our children,” Houdek said. “Answer questions without dwelling on things... If we are calm, they will be calm. If we talk about all the things adults do to keep them safe and we reassure them, they will feel reassured.”

The police department’s investigation of the incident remains ongoing.

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