- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

BURWELL, Neb. (AP) - Students and staffers faced tighter security as classes resumed Wednesday at Burwell’s public schools.

Schools were closed Tuesday so administrators could prepare the new security measures. A menacing letter sent to Burwell’s city hall last week contained what’s being called a “hit list” of more than a dozen names of Burwell school administrators, teachers and students at the district’s junior-senior high school. No arrests have been reported as officials and investigators try to find out who sent it.

Garfield County Attorney Dale Crandall has said the letter didn’t detail what harm, if any, would come to the people on the list. But, he said, law enforcement and school officials were taking the letter as a serious threat.

On Monday the school board decided to cancel Tuesday’s classes for all the district’s 323 students.

The security changes apparent Wednesday included checks of bags being taken into the buildings during school days. Superintendent Dan Bird said in a letter posted on the district website that the bag checks would include those of guests and visitors.

The junior-senior high school will become a closed campus, he said, and all high school students and staffers who drive to the school must park in the school’s parking lot. A few have been parking in the lot across the street at the district’s elementary school.

An increased police presence at both schools is expected to continue.

In the posting, Bird invited parents to attend assemblies being held Wednesday at both schools to update students about the security changes.

“We will work diligently to provide a safe learning environment for all our students,” Bird said.

Burwell is a central Nebraska community of about 1,200 residents.

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