PARKER, Colo. (CBS4)– Students at Cherokee Trail Elementary school in Parker were evacuated from the building on Monday afternoon. The school was one of several in Colorado and different states that received bomb threats. The automated phone calls are being investigated by the FBI.
Parker police said the evacuation was prompted by an anonymous threat to the school with an automated call about noon Monday. It was similar to threats made at at least six schools around the state.READ MORE: Girl Scout Delivers Homemade 'Ear Savers' To Elementary Students For More Comfortable Mask Wearing
The other schools that received threats are located in Lakewood, Pueblo West, Colorado Springs, Boulder and Fort Collins. The FBI said schools in at least eight other states received similar swatting calls all with the goal of triggering a large police response.
Students at Cherokee Trail were moved outside while Parker police officers and South Metro Fire Rescue crews searched the school.
“They were like, ‘We all need to go sit on the field’ so we were all just sitting there for two hours,” said student Marcus Morgan.
Parents and caregivers were urged to check in at the baseball stop in the northwest corner of the field before picking up their children.
Some streets surrounding the school were closed.
Copter4 flew over the school where students were gathered outside.
Parents said the situation was frightening.
“It’s just scary to not know what’s going on. They don’t have any of their bags or their phones or anything and there’s no way of getting a hold of them,” said parent Eva Owen.READ MORE: Colorado Day Of Remembrance Honors Those Who Lost Their Lives To COVID
Cherokee Trail Elementary parents received this email about the incident:
Dear Cherokee Trail Parents,
An automated phone message received at our school today with an anonymous threat has prompted us to evacuate the building. We immediately reached out to Parker Police who are on scene and investigating.
We have learned that this threat was received at a number of other schools in the metro area and is not unique to Cherokee Trail. Out of an abundance of caution, students and staff will remain outside of the building until it is determined that we may go back inside.
Lakewood High School received a phoned-in threat that Jeffco Schools officials believe was automated. The school was not evacuated. Jeffco Schools told CBS4 that the district has received robo-type threats previously this year.
Denver Public Schools told CBS4 they were aware of computer-generated bomb threats that were made on Monday at other school districts along the Front Range.
“Every one of these may be swatting, all it takes is one of them to be real and then we have a tragedy here,” said DPS spokesman Will Jones.
Jones said he was impressed with how quickly information was shared between school districts, “They communicate and they share information and they are working with law enforcement to make sure that even though we know that swatting is going on we want to make sure the kids throughout Colorado are safe.”
Irish Elementary School in the Poudre Valley School District received a threat by phone at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Security officials said it was a recorded message. The school was voluntarily evacuated but the threat was determined not to be credible. Students were back in class within 30 minutes.
The Boulder Valley School District released this statement to families and staff at Nevin J. Platt Middle School in Boulder County: This message is to inform you that Platt Middle School, along with schools in other Colorado school districts, received a computer generated recorded threat that was determined by local law enforcement on site and BVSD Security to be a hoax. As a precaution, our building was thoroughly inspected by staff and security with nothing out of the ordinary being found.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a bomb threat was received at Liberty Point Elementary in Pueblo West just after 1 p.m. That school was evacuated as a precaution.
Nothing suspicious was found at any of the schools in Colorado that received the threats.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was monitoring Twitter accounts regarding the bomb threats.
The FBI told CBS4 the agency is monitoring the situation and is in touch with local law enforcement agencies.MORE NEWS: A Year After COVID Death, Mike Farley's Family Mourns Lost Opportunities
One school in Colorado Springs received a bomb threat and CBS affiliate KKTV in Colorado Springs confirmed that other cities with bomb threats include Cheyenne, Wyo., Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Madison, Wis.