Boise schools near Idaho Capitol to close campuses next week over inauguration protests

Boise School District
Posted at 2:23 PM, Jan 15, 2021

This article was written by Jacob Scholl of the Idaho Statesman.

In anticipation of armed protests at state capitol buildings around the country next week regarding the presidential inauguration, the Boise School District is employing safety measures at schools near the Idaho Statehouse.

Dan Hollar, public affairs administrator for the Boise School District, said in an email Friday that the district will keep students on campus at four locations: Boise High School, North Junior High School, Longfellow Elementary and Washington Elementary.

Hollar said Boise High will have a closed school campus on both Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning students will not be permitted to leave during school hours, including lunch, unless approved ahead of time. Parents can choose to keep students at home if they so choose, he said.

Wednesday, Jan. 20, is the actual inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden. After last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol by armed, right-wing, pro-Donald Trump groups, concerns have grown that there will be unruly protests next week.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are taking steps to keep students in close proximity to the Idaho Capitol ... on campus,” the Boise district announced in its update.

Boise schools on Tuesday are returning to a hybrid learning modelthat was being used prior to Thanksgiving, meaning that students are in school some days and doing remote learning others.

Hollar said the school district has been working closely with the Boise Police Department to ensure that security is maintained at all schools.

The Boise School District’s announcement came after an FBI bulletin was issued that warned of armed protests at all 50 state capitols, according to The Associated Press. Federal investigators believe some of those organizing protests belong to extremist groups. The bulletin warned of possible activity at the capitol building from Jan. 16-20.

Also related to the potential of violent protests, Boise State University administrators said they recently canceled a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event featuring civil rights activist Angela Davis over security concerns — though the event was scheduled for Monday, Jan. 25, a week after MLK Day, and would have taken place over Zoom.

University officials told the Statesman that they decided to cancel in order to protect the safety of students and staff.