BREMERTON — Bremerton High School was closed today as a precaution after police received information about a social media threat that was possibly directed at the school.
Officers investigated and found the threat originated in New Mexico. Officers also learned a suspect there is in custody.
“The threat contains the abbreviation ‘BHS’ in it, so that caused concern the threat was directed at the Bremerton High School,” Bremerton Police Lt. Randy Plumb reported. “Out of abundance of caution, the Bremerton High School was closed today while officers investigated.”
He added, “The safety of kids is a high priority — especially in light of the recent school shootings and threats.”
The high school referred to by the suspect is Belen High School, in Belen, New Mexico. Noting the school’s initials, Plumb said the threat generated concerns “for a lot of schools with the initials BHS.”
KRQE in Belen reported that Belen police arrested the student they say is responsible for posting the threat. Police there told KRQE that the student, a Belen High School sophomore, told investigators he posted the threat as a joke and “that he never intended to hurt anyone.”
The student also told officers “he did it to get attention and wanted to see what kind of reaction his post would get,” KRQE reported. The student could face a felony charge.
Ironically, Belen High School reopened today, while Bremerton High School, some 1,500 miles away, remains closed. Bremerton High School Principal Monica Sweet posted the following message on social media:
“The timing of the information was such that we needed to make a decision very quickly. While the decision to close school is never easy, we will always put the safety of our students and staff at the forefront of our decision-making,” she wrote.
“We are grateful to our school community for reporting the information to school officials. We are also thankful to the Bremerton Police Department for their swift response and support. This information allowed us to make timely and accurate decisions in order to ensure student and staff safety. As we move forward as a school community, continued support and training will be provided so that Bremerton schools remain safe places.”
BSD Superintendent Aaron Leavell sent a statement to district families as well.
“The timing of the information we received was such that we needed to make a decision very quickly,” he said. “While the decision to close a school is never easy, we will always prioritize the safety of our students and staff at the forefront of our decision-making.
“We are grateful to our school community for reporting the information to school officials. We are also thankful to the Bremerton Police Department for their swift response and support.
“As we move forward, continued support and training will be provided so that Bremerton Schools remain safe places. Please help us to continue to encourage your student(s) that if they see something or hear something that is potentially harmful, to say something to an adult, school official, or call 911.”