MCSO: No direct threat related to incident that closed Grand Meadow Schools on Monday

Published 3:42 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

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Grand Meadow Public Schools has received official word that there are no direct threats related to an incident that took place starting late last week, and that prompted the closure of school Monday.

According to Superintendent Paul Besel Monday afternoon and in a letter to the parents, the school received word from the Mower County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Steve Sanvik that there is no immediate threat stemming from an incident the district became aware of this past Friday.

I have been recently notified by Sheriff Sandvik from the Mower County Sheriff’s office that the threat to the Grand Meadow students through the investigation process has determined that there is no imminent threat to Grand Meadow students or the school,” Besel said. “I have been assured by Sheriff Sandvik that all threats towards schools are fully investigated. “

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Likewise, Sandvik added Monday afternoon that a suspect has been notified in the case and that the investigation is ongoing.

“The Mower County Sheriff’s Office has investigated the threat as soon as we were made aware of it,” he said. “We have made contact with a suspect who does not reside in the area and there is no direct, imminent threat to either minors or the school within Grand Meadow or Mower County.”

Sandvik said more information will be released as the investigation continues, but did confirm that the suspect is from outstate Minnesota.

Besel said earlier in the morning on Monday that the district became aware of the incident on Friday when it was reported to the principal’s office, and though the district had been given the clearance to go ahead with classes Monday, the decision to cancel classes came out of an abundance of caution.

“As (Sunday) progressed, I didn’t feel comfortable having school open given what I knew at that point and time so we could continue further investigation,” Besel said, echoing a letter sent out to parents over the weekend.

In that letter, Besel said: “This closure will also allow law enforcement to follow through on more information which has surfaced since the E-News I sent out earlier today.”

While he couldn’t go into many of the specifics regarding the case, Besel did say the incident involved a threat towards a student through an online gaming platform.

In a notice sent out to parents Monday afternoon, it was stated that classes will resume Tuesday starting at the regular time and that more information regarding finals week and school-related activities will be released later. A basketball game scheduled for Monday night has also been postponed to stay consistent with the school closure.

Both the Grand Meadow Police Department and Mower County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the situation.