Threats of violence and a disturbing photo brought police back to Rancho Bernardo High School again Tuesday, after hostile messages were found painted on walls.
Upon deeper investigation, the posts were found to be years old but manipulated to look new.
In a message to school families, Principal Dave LeMaster said San Diego police were alerted to social media posts that contained hate speech and violent threats. Police said they also received emails from worried students who had seen those posts.
The principal said one of the posts included a photo of a school van that was vandalized in 2013. Another post was recycled from the social media app “Burn Book” and included an anonymous threat of violence to another school in March 2015.
According to the principal’s message, those photos were taken from a Facebook page and doctored to look like a current post. San Diego police investigated and removed the posts Monday night.
“Nevertheless, students are sharing the pictures, which is causing alarm,” LeMaster told RBHS families. LeMaster said police assured him that the posts are not new or related to Monday's threats at the school.
Despite those assurances, San Diego Police officers were on campus this morning “as a precautionary measure.”
A local psychologist, Dr. George Pratt, told NBC 7 that educators and the media should not focus only on disturbing threats, in light of the Florida mass shooting.
Pratt said law enforcement plays a crucial role in keeping students, teachers and staff safe. He added that positive news about how students are coping with the stress of school shootings and threats will help balance news coverage of these incidents.
Pratt also said parents should talk with their children about their feelings and concerns about school safety.