Hallway

Students walk past the cafeteria between classes in this September, 2017 photo at Belgrade High School.

Update: Belgrade schools will be open as usual on Monday, April 9. The investigation is still ongoing. Belgrade Police haven’t issued anything new.

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After finding graffiti written on a bathroom stall in Belgrade High School Thursday, Belgrade School District officials made the call late Thursday to shut down all its schools on Friday to fend off a possible threat to students and staff.

The district contacted staff around 10 p.m. announcing the closure. Superintendent Leland Stocker issued a statement shortly after citing a “credible threat” as the impetus for the shutdown.

“Due to a credible threat, there will be no school for any Belgrade District School tomorrow,” he wrote. “We will continue to investigate this threat and be in communication. There is no immediate threat suspected; however, we need time to investigate the situation.”

Shortly after announcing the closure, Belgrade Chief of Police E.J. Clark said his department is investigating the incident but was unsure if the incident warranted the “credible threat” title.

“I don’t know if it’s credible or not,” he said Thursday night. “We’re still investigating it.”

Given the national climate of regular school shootings, Clark said precautions are important to public safety. He also said he did not play a part in the decision to shut down the schools. Stocker and Belgrade School Board Chairman Lance Voegele made the call Thursday night, according to Clark.

On Friday morning, Stocker said safety drove the decision.

“There’s been too many incidents that can occur if we don’t pay attention to the signs,” he said. “That’s essentially what we are doing: we are paying attention to the signs. We’re trying to locate the student or students who may have perpetrated this and keep everyone safe in the process.”

Regarding the content of the graffiti, Leland said the writing goes beyond typical teenage rants.

“It’s ratcheted above that and the seriousness is taken at face value,” he said. “That’s why we are trying to take the time to investigate it thoroughly and see if there is a mindset that someone would truly hurt themselves or hurt others. We want to get to that point where we can identify the student, or students, and go from there.”

Belgrade High School was under a "shelter in place" lockdown on Feb. 22 after rumors circulated regarding a student bringing a gun to school. The precaution was lifted later that day.

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Editor's note: The stories below were reported late Thursday night:

UPDATE: Superintendent Leland Stocker issued the following statement: "Due to a credible threat, there will be no school for any Belgrade District School tomorrow. We will continue to investigate this threat and be in communication. There is no immediate threat suspected; however, we need time to investigate the situation."

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All Belgrade schools will be closed Friday, April 6 due to what school officials are calling a “credible threat” after Belgrade High School officials found graffiti in a bathroom stall. The subject matter of the graffiti is unclear.

Belgrade Chief of Police E.J. Clark said his department is investigating the incident, but didn’t agree with the “credible threat” accusations. There are no suspects.

“I don’t know if it’s credible or not,” he said. “We’re still investigating.”

He also said he did not play a part in the decision to shut down the schools Friday. Superintendent Leland Stocker and Belgrade School Board Chairman Lance Voegele made the call to close the schools Friday, according to Clark.

Neither Voegele or Stocker could not be reached Thursday night.

Belgrade High School was under a "shelter in place" lockdown on Feb. 22 after rumors circulated regarding a student bringing a gun to school. The precaution was lifted later that day.

This is a developing story.