Parents Searching For Answers After Threats Painted on Walls at Rancho Bernardo High School

The school district held a public meeting Wednesday on campus

Parents are still searching for answers after vandalism at Rancho Bernardo High School displayed hate speech and threats of violence.

The words painted on walls around the school were unlike anything the principal had ever seen, he explained at the meeting Thursday. 

San Diego police responded at approximately 7 a.m. Monday to investigate the tagging of various buildings on campus.

Staff at the school used paper to cover up the messages. Some of the messages referred to the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Feb. 14 shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida killed 17 people and injured 14 others. 

There were also racist images relating to the Ku Klux Klan and a swastika. 

“I’m very concerned about this. They should have more security at the school and prevent this from happening,” said Carlos Campos, whose son is a sophomore at Rancho Bernardo High School. “There’s a pattern with school shootings where it starts with threatening messages like this.”

Campos added he fears that if students can sneak in to vandalize the school then guns and drugs could be snuck onto campus as well.

"I'm very concerned for the safety of my son," said Campos. 

“We get the confusion, frustration and worry that comes with this,” said Principal David DeMaster. “We want parents to know that we do have a plan when something like this happens. And we work closely with the San Diego Police Department.”

Principal DeMaster said many parents have asked him why school was not canceled that day. He said that is not his decision. The school does what law enforcement believes is best.

A San Diego Police Department officer at the meeting confirmed they deemed the threats not credible, using an expert task force.

Principal DeMaster added there was a threat made last year that put the school into lock down for two hours.

He added they are working closely with law enforcement to catch the suspect or suspects of this incident. 

The school district said they do have surveillance video of the incident but will not be releasing it to the public during the investigation.

According to Captain Christopher Knighten of the San Diego Police Department, there are images from surveillance cameras, but they are unusable. 

Captain Knighten added the police have not identified any suspects at this time. 

Poway school district is offering a $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or people who might have done this. The Anti-Defamation League said they are also offering their own cash reward of $1,000. 

"We want everyone to be aware of the serious consequences of this type of crime," said Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps, the superintendent of Poway Unified School District. "These threats terrorize communities and frighten parents, students, and staff and severely disrupt the school day. Our schools should remain places where our students feel safe enough to learn and grow."

There are 2,400 students enrolled in the school from the communities of Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Los Penasquitos, Sabre Springs and Carmel Mountain Ranch.

Contact Us