Johnston, Iowa schools back open today

Two screen shots of texts received by Johnston school district parents this morning received by WHO Radio.

UPDATE:   The Johnston Police Department today was conducting security sweeps of every school in the district...and that prompted school officials to delay the opening of class two hours.

At yesterday's news conference, Johnston Police Chief Dennis McDaniel said the threats that some parents and students received Monday night were "not credible".  He hinted that a data breach may have allowed scammers to send the bogus text messages.

The Johnston Police Department is also advising individuals to ensure the protection of their identity and personal information by enacting the following security measures:

  • Change passwords frequently while ensuring they are strong and secure; utilize different passwords for different accounts.
  • Only give your social security number (SSN) when it is necessary and keep your SSN card in a secure location – do not carry it in your wallet.
  • Keep items with personal information in a safe place and either shred or tear them up when you do not need.
  • Order a copy of your credit report from each credit-reporting agency.
  • Before revealing personal financial information, find out whom you are dealing with, how the information will be used, and if it will be shared with others.
  • Verify your credit card and credit union statements each month for unauthorized charges or suspicious activity.
  • Photocopy financial and insurance cards you carry in your wallet (front and back) and keep original copies in a safe place - in the event your wallet is lost or stolen.

To secure your identity, you can request a copy of a credit report from the following credit bureaus.

·         TransUnion – (800-916-8800)

There are also additional fee-based subscription services to consider should an individual be at a heightened risk of cyber intrusion.

Other Iowa Schools get threats

There are reports that some students and parents at Davenport North High School received similar threats to the ones received in Johnston.  The Sioux City Police Deparment says this morning they also were notified of similar messages.  A Facebook post in Sioux City said the texts displayed the same phone number that was used in Johnston.

Neither school district cancelled classes.  Both police departments said they were investigating the threats.  In Omaha, Nebraska, the police department there said similar texts were received, but that department called it a "hoax".

(Original story)

All Johnston schools are cancelled today after students and parents got threatening messages on their cell phones last night.

At least two people-either students or parents-in the Johnston school district-have received threatening text messages after 8pm last night.  Johnston Police say the messages were "threatening the safety and security of students".  

Facebook posts this morning from people who've gotten the messages indicated that parents were "scared to death" of the threats. 

In their statement, Johnston Police posted on Facebook that the calls were anonymous, "threatening the safety and security of students" in the Johnston School District.  So far, the police say they came from the phone number 818-275-6848-a California number.

If anyone's gotten a threatening text, they're asked to make a screenshot of it and forward it along with your phone number to

UPDATE:  Johnston Police say there's been social media reports that a Johnston student was detained.  Police say that is FALSE.  

The Johnston Police Department's holding a news conference at 10:30am this morning to provide updates.  Check here and on Newsradio 1040 WHO for the latest information!

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