San Diego

Social Media Threat, Fire Alarm Cause Confusion at Coronado Schools

A suspect has been arrested after Coronado Unified School District ordered schools into lockdown Tuesday morning due to a threat made on social media, according to the superintendent.

"The threat was made by a high school student who was not on campus today and was specific to another individual," Superintendent Karl J. Mueller told parents in a written statement.

CUSD Village Schools entered into "soft lockdown" status at 10:24 a.m.

Less than 20 minutes later, parents were notified the "shelter in place" order had been lifted and school activities had resumed.

The initial alerts to parents mentioned police activity but Mueller confirmed a message posted to social media was the reasoning behind the direction to shelter in place, something he referred to as a "soft lockdown".

“Some friends called me, ‘What are you going to with your kids?’ and I decided after the second alert to come and pick them up,” said Rebecca Cortez, a parent of a student.

Once law enforcement informed the district there was no longer a threat, school administrators were told to lift the lockdown protocol.

However, at Coronado High School, a student pulled the fire alarm which caused additional confusion, Mueller said.

“Everyone was just kind a like, freaking out, but the girl wasn't at school so I don't think people were as scared but when the fire alarm went off everyone was like, trying to run into the school instead of evacuating,” said student Ella Ackerly.

There was a third and fourth alarm issued at the school, adding to the uncertainty of events.

"While we work in close collaboration with law enforcement, we will always balance our duty of care and safety to students with the desire to effectively communicate accurate information with our shareholders. Social media makes this challenging. Please trust that communications from CUSD will be factual and timely while prioritizing the immediate safety of our students and staff. As part of our CUSD community during emergency situations, you can expect to hear directly from the district through phone/text/email," Mueller said.

NBC 7 obtained an image of students sitting on the football field at one school while they awaited direction from teachers and staff.

Students said it was a bit scary and an unusual day.

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