Suspect who threatened teacher apprehended

Schools went into lock down today after a parent allegedly threatened a staff member over the phone.

Schools went into lock down today after a parent allegedly threatened to harm a staff member at Zimmerman Elementary School over the phone.
Students and staff were held at Zimmerman and Westwood elementaries and at Zimmerman Middle and High School from about 12.40 p.m. to 2:25 p.m., according to a Sherburne County Sheriff's Department news release.
"We do (lockdowns) to ensure that all students and staff," an alert said on the school district's Web site during the ordeal.

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The parent who allegedly threatened the teacher indicated he was on his way to Zimmerman Elementary School. Sherburne County Sheriff's deputies were able to make cellular telephone contact with the suspect, but he initially refused to divulge his whereabouts, according to a release.
The suspect eventually agreed to turn himself in to law enforcement officials. He was taken into custody and booked into Sherburne County Jail for terroristic threats. The Elk River Police Department assisted with the arrest.
Once authorities had apprehended the individual who made the threat, the schools were given the all clear to release students. That includes the middle and senior high classes that had to be held after their normal release time of 2:05 p.m.

Tom Walerius, a school district official, said the person threatened a Zimmerman Elementary School staff member with bodily harm, which resulted in the lockdown of all schools in the Zimmerman area.

Walerius, who was in contact with the elementary school every five minutes during the chain of events, said the school district had just held a debriefing last week with the Sheriff's Office about a previous drill. He said the schools were very prepared to handle the situation and did very well in reacting to the situation and communicating to keep kids safe.

Ironically, Walerius said he had met earlier in the day with a firm that provides a service to notify parents in the event of a serious incident. The school district used its Web site, letters home to parents and phone calls to communicate with some of the parents, but Walerius said the district is still interested in finding a more effective means of communicating with parents in situations like this.

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