SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - A Serra High School freshman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of scrawling a threat about a school shooting in a restroom at the Tierrasanta campus.
The suspect - whose name, age and gender were withheld - told school investigators the menacing comments, discovered on Tuesday, were "not meant to be taken seriously," and authorities do not believe the threat was credible, according to San Diego Unified School District officials.
Still, school police decided that the message met the criteria for classification as a criminal threat, SDUSD spokeswoman Maureen Magee said.
The threatening graffiti made reference to a shooting that supposedly was due to take place following the school's spring break, which is next week, according to Magee.
At least 19 threats have been made against San Diego-area schools since last month's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and prosecutors have charged nine juveniles in connection with the incidents, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.
On Friday, school and city officials plan to hold a news conference at 10:15 a.m. at the education center in University Heights outlining the ramifications of the spate of school threats, punishments faced by those who issue them and efforts to discourage youths from engaging in such offenses.
The San Diego Police Chief and San Diego District Attorney are expected to take part in the press conference, according to a statement from the school district.
There was an increased police presence at the school after the threatening message was found written on a school wall.
As a precaution, following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, there was heightened security as detectives and school officials investigated the threat made towards the school in Tierrasanta.
News 8 spoke with some parents who showed up ready to take their children home early due to the threat.
“It’s scary, it’s not like back when I went to school, especially with all the things going on in school right now, Yen Nguyen said.
In a letter that went out to parents and staff from school principal, Dr. Erica Renfree, she states:
I want to communicate that we are actively investigating a potential threat to our campus that was discovered on a school wall.
Since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the San Diego Unified Police Department has investigated 48 potential threats made to district campuses.
In each instance, the district police department has identified the students involved and deemed the threats to be non-credible.
In an abundance of caution, school police is prepared to direct additional resources to Serra this week, and following spring break which starts Friday.
Students and staff are being urged to report any suspicious activity to authorities. You can remain anonymous by calling crimestoppers at (619) 531-2000.
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At Serra High School, where Principal Dr. Erica Renfree emailed patents, they are “actively investigating a potential threat to our campus that was discovered on a school wall. In an abundance of caution, School Police prepared to ramp up resources this week & for Spring Break.” pic.twitter.com/QElb8oh2vO— Heather HOPE (@HopeNEWS8) March 21, 2018
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