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The school threat was in Blaine. But not that Blaine

Blaine High School
Blaine High School The Bellingham Herald file

Police and school officials in Blaine have learned that an email warning that canceled classes for a day last week was intended for a school district in Blaine, Minnesota.

Blaine School District announced through its website, and via calls to students and staff, that all five of the Whatcom County district’s schools were closed Friday in reaction to the threat.

But by 10 a.m. Friday, local school officials and police were confident that the warning of violence was a hoax, mimicking a threat authorities said originated in New Mexico via the social media app Snapchat.

“Through direct conversation with the individual who sent the email to the Blaine School District on Thursday evening, it has been determined that the concern was intended to go to a school in Blaine, Minnesota,” the local Blaine district said at its website.

Tina Padilla, assistant to the superintendent, said the Snapchat threat referenced “BHS” for Bethel High School in New Mexico. Bremerton High School also canceled classes Friday, media reports said.

Padilla said a Minnesota parent learned of the Snapchat threat and forwarded it via email to school officials in Whatcom County.

“This has happened a handful of times over the past year,” Padilla said. “Periodically, parents of kids in Minnesota will end up on our website.”

But with the nation fixed on the aftermath of the latest school massacre, Padilla said local officials and police agreed that caution was warranted.

“That’s been mostly the response from parents, that they’re glad that we took it seriously,” Padilla said.

Blaine, Minnesota, population 57,186, is about 13 miles north of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. It’s part of Anoka-Hennepin Schools with an enrollment of 38,000, according to its website.

Blaine, Washington, population 5,164, is about 105 miles north of Seattle. School enrollment was slightly above 2,100 students in early February, Padilla said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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