ELK GROVE (CBS13) – We hear it all the time: If you see something say something. Why did it take hours for parents to be notified after a threatening note was left at a local high school?
For Laguna Creek High school administrators, they had to balance transparency and causing concern.
Edwin Stevenson was hesitant about sending his two sons to school today.
“It was very grave and depressing for me because the day and age we live in, I don’t know what to make of all the violence,” said Stevenson.
“We’re not getting the whole story and we probably will never get the whole story,” she said.
School threats are not taken lightly. State, local, and even federal resources are called in immediately when they happen. Sometimes that means parents don’t always get information as fast as they want.
“In the messaging, we want to make sure that we are accurate and that we give people information that they need,” said Elk Grove Unified School District Director of Communications and Public Information Officer Xanthi Pinkerton.
Pinkerton says she understands why parents get worried. However, before parents can be notified about anything, she says the district must consider student privacy and how releasing information could impact a police investigation. Her job is to be the voice of reason.
“People get worried because of rumors people are saying a little bit more than what the real situation might be,” she said.
“Our number one priority is to make sure that school is safe from an imminent threat,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tess Deterding.
Deterding says over communication and overreaction might prompt students to make even more threats.
“There’s always a balance. We would obviously on the one hand not want to not take something seriously enough,” Deterding said.
She says there’s often a delay in communication because police need time to assess a threat and figure out the intent behind it. It’s something parents say they understand but wish they could be notified of sooner.
“It’s awful now that the kids have to go to school today try to learn and be afraid for their life.”
Schools leaders in Elk Grove suggest that all parents double-check their cellphones and email and make sure they have the ability to receive information from the school so that they are not left in the dark when a threat happens.
Pinkerton issued this statement to parents and guardians of Laguna Creek High students on Wednesday regarding the threat:
“This morning, law-enforcement investigated a report of a possible weapon on campus and after a thorough threat assessment, law enforcement quickly identified, located, contacted and detained the suspected parties involved and no weapon was found.
Additionally, regarding the recent threats to do harm to the school, the same parties involved with the rumored weapon are suspected to have written the threat last week (9/4), today (9/11) and for the most recently discovered one for Friday (9/13). Unfortunately, students took pictures of the note and it is now circling on social media and is quickly becoming known as a social media threat, which it is not.
“Appropriate action has been taken with the parties involved.
“Out of an abundance of caution, law enforcement will be present at Laguna Creek High School on Friday, September 13, 2019. These actions have been highly disruptive to our school and community. Please remind your student that posting such a threat could result in criminal charges.
“The safety of our students and staff is a top priority at our school. We are sharing this information with you as part of our ongoing efforts to keep you informed about incidents that affect our campus. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the school office at (916) 683-1339.”