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Bomb threat email puts Indiana schools on high alert

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Close to 40 school districts canceled classes Friday after receiving a threatening email.

According to one central Indiana sheriff, the email was written in Arabic. 

I-Team 8 obtained a copy of the email, which read: “One of your schools has a bomb inside. It is well-built, solid and discreetly located. Considering that today is your last day, I think it is appropriate for you to pray to God. Allah is the greatest.”

One school resource officer contacted Indiana State Police.

Sgt. John Perrine of the Indiana State Police told News 8, “We immediately put our intelligence folks to start analyzing these as quickly as possible, utilizing every possible resource to try and get answers.”

Most of the schools that received the threatening email were in rural Indiana, or in the counties surrounding Indianapolis. Districts including Speedway, Noblesville and Lebanon posted notices online saying local police had searched the grounds and buildings, and didn’t believe the threat was credible; however, out of an abundance of caution, the districts canceled classes for the day.  

Ken Trump of National School Safety and Security Services told I-Team 8, “There are two types of threats: those threats that originate locally by students or former students, or somebody with a grievance against the school; and swatting threats that can involve bomb threats, shooting threats, that are often computer-generated originate from across state lines and frequently across international lines.”

Trump says he believes Indiana is the latest in a series of swatting-type threats that started in August and involved multiple school districts across several states. He says the threats started at the beginning of the school year.

On Wednesday, schools in 19 Illinois counties received threats, none of which were found to be credible.  

Trump said, “Once you close schools and send kids home, they are often on the street, at home less supervised when parents work, more unsafe than if they were in schools under heightened security for a threat that you pretty much had a good feel for early on that is not credible.”

The security expert says is concerned the growing number of noncredible threats could make school officials and police complacent. “Schools need to have three things: a threat assessment team, training and protocol in place, and be sure they assess and then react, not react and assess; heightened security procedures, so if the threat is not credible, they don’t close, they continue on under heightened supervision; and a strong communications plan to get accurate information out and to quell rumors within the school community to reduce parent, student and staff anxiety.”