Classes Set To Resume In Johnston After Threatening Texts Sent To Students, Parents

Oct 3, 2017

A suburban Des Moines school district says it will resume tomorrow after it canceled classes today due to threatening text messages that were anonymously sent to a number of students and parents.

The texts were received last night from a number with a 818 area code, which is used in Los Angeles County, CA.

When students arrive at Johnston Community schools in the morning they can expect an increased law enforcement presence. Johnston Police Chief Dennis McDaniel says while his department can’t substantiate any credible or imminent threats, he wants the community to stay alert.

"The department continues to work this investigation in conjunction with the FBI, the joint terrorism task force and other state and local law enforcement officials," he says. "We have also engaged private security partners that are cyber security experts."

While McDaniel wouldn't discuss many details of the investigation he says it's likely the messages will continue, though they may come from a new number or numbers.

"We’re encouraging the public not to engage someone should they receive this threat, not to banter back and forth with the individual," says McDaniel. "Simply report it to law enforcement so that we may continue our investigation."

According to Iowa Department of Education data from the 2016-2017 school year, more than 6,900 students attend school in the district.