Anonymous threat prompts early closures, lockdowns at local districts

Published 1:37 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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NILES — An anonymous threat sent to both Niles Community Schools and Brandywine Community Schools Wednesday prompted evacuations of staff and students at two NCS schools and lockdowns at schools in both districts, officials said.

Michigan State Police and Niles Police Department notified both districts Wednesday morning of an anonymous threat directed at Ballard Elementary, Niles High School and Brandywine Elementary..Niles High School and Ballard Elementary were both evacuated and closed so that the police could conduct their investigation. Local police completed their security and safety checks around both schools and while the police do not believe the threats to be credible, NCS Superintendent Dr. Dan Applegate said all other buildings remained open with restricted access out of an abundance of precaution.

“We want to thank the Berrien County Police Department, Michigan State Police and Corewell Health Canine Team for their prompt support,” said NCS Superintendent Dr. Dan Applegate.

In the Brandywine school district, Brandywine Elementary was deemed safe to enter for the school day after law enforcement and their K-9 team completed sweeps of the campus and all other buildings remained open with restricted access out of an abundance of precaution.

The district was on a two-hour delay today for staff professional development which allowed the police the opportunity to conduct the sweep before the start of the school day, according to Superintendent Travis Walker.

Because of the nature of the incident, Brandywine absences will be excused for the day if parents are concerned about the safety of their children.

“Our foremost priority remains the safety and security of our students and staff, and we remain committed to providing an educational environment that is both safe and conducive to learning,” said BCS Superintendent Travis Walker.

This is a developing story. will be updated as more information becomes available.