GODFREY - Alton High School in Godfrey experienced lower attendance Thursday after the investigation into threats began Monday.

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Alton High School Principal Michael Bellm told parents that the particular statement/threat on Monday listed a specific date, March 22, which likely influenced attendance. Another message in a different bathroom was discovered the next day but did not list a specific date.

Alton School District Assistant Superintendent Kristie Baumgartner said: “We did experience lower attendance today at Alton High. As expected, instruction and other school activities went on as planned and without incident.

“We certainly respect a parent's right to keep their child home at any time they have a reasonable concern. Our number one priority is to keep our students safe and that's exactly what we did today by taking some precautionary steps.”

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Madison County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Will Dimitroff said the investigation continues into the possible threats and there was nothing else he could report today.

Bellm issued the following on Wednesday: “The Madison County Sheriff's Department, along with Alton High School Administrators, are actively investigating both incidents. Schools and districts across the nation continue to deal with false threats, particularly students joking about threats and other concerning comments. It is imperative that we continue to take all precautionary measures necessary to keep our students and staff safe. Therefore, Alton High will operate under restricted movement until further notice.

“The academic day will continue as normal. However, students requesting to use the restroom or to go to another location during a class period will be escorted to and from that location by another staff member. I have also asked for our law enforcement partners to increase their presence in our school. This will assist our team in ensuring a safe environment at all times and for students and staff. This communication is intended to keep you updated and informed. Thank you for your understanding. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns.”

Baumgartner concluded with this statement: “We are not unlike many other districts across the state and country right now though in that we have to take even misguided statements, joking and hoaxes as serious until we can determine if there is a credible concern or not.”

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office will report developments in the situation as they occur. Parents are encouraged to talk with their children about the severe consequences of misguided statements that could be construed as threats.

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