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Flathead students, parents reassured before classes resume Tuesd - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Flathead students, parents reassured before classes resume Tuesday

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COLUMBIA FALLS - Teachers and school officials met with law enforcement Monday for two hours prior to a public meeting to discuss the recent cyber threats that shut down classes and school activities across the Flathead Valley for days.

They went over how the threats started, when they began and what the schools have done to bring safety back to the community.

Students will go back to school Tuesday, but many parents had questions about whether the schools were physically safe to return to.

“Has the school been thoroughly checked over from top to bottom, upper curtains, every place else? That’s all I’m concerned about, I could care less if they hack into my email,” one attendee at the meeting said.

Columbia Falls Superintendent Steve Bradshaw says every school has been checked, but knows that schools are vulnerable places every single day.

“Can I assure you 100-percent that your kids are going to come to school tomorrow and be safe? I can’t do that,” Bradshaw said.

However, according to the Columbia Falls Police Chief Clint Peters, law enforcement believe the attacks exist strictly online and do not pose a physical threat.

“The threat of them coming in and hurting our children is off the table, and that’s the point of this meeting is that it’s not there,” Peters said. 

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry also announced Monday afternoon that Columbia Falls School District members have received a ransom letter via email from suspects connected to the case, and that law enforcement has determined that the suspects are located outside of the US.

Peters often referred to the attacks as being committed by a group and says that they do not think they are living in the nearby area.

“The extent of their knowledge of the internet would put them in the extremely small percentage of people in the state and probably even in the country.”

Columbia Falls students and many other schools across the Flathead valley will return to classes at normal hours Tueday with police on campus.

Whitefish City Manager Adam Hammatt says there will be a community-wide meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Whitefish School District Performing Arts Center to share information and answer questions related to the recent cyber-terrorism threats against local schools.

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