San Diego

7th Grader Suspected of Posting Social Media Threats Against Four SDUSD Schools

Officials said the student may have been "inspired by similar false threats of school violence posted and reposted on social media nationwide in recent days"

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is considering whether to recommend charges for a seventh-grade student who is suspected of posting threatening messages against four district schools this week.

SDUSD was made aware Wednesday of messages on Facebook and Snapchat that threatened a shooting at two Clairemont schools — Madison High School and Creative Performing Media Arts Middle School, SDUSD officials said.

The next day, a second message was posted that added San Diego High School and School of Creative and Performing Arts to the list of possible targets.

SDUSD police were called to investigate the social media posts.

The threats were deemed not credible, according to SDUSD. As a precaution, however, more school officers were placed on each of the campuses.

The district said they believe a seventh-grade student was responsible for the social media messages.

The incident is still under investigation and the district is considering whether or not to recommend formal charges against the student. 

"These types of comments are no joking matter, and they come with consequences, SDUSD Police Chief Michael Marquez said. "There are consequences in terms of student discipline, and there are consequences in terms of unnecessarily increasing anxiety and fear in the community." 

Officials said the student may have been "inspired by similar false threats of school violence posted and reposted on social media nationwide in recent days."

In the week following a shooting at a Florida High School that left 17 people dead, several unsubstantiated threats have been reported at schools across San Diego County.

SDUSD Police, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) and San Diego Police Department (SDPD) have all had to investigate possible threats at schools in their jurisdiction. 

In most instances, an investigation deemed the threat not credible. In at least one instance, a student was taken into custody and booked into juvenile hall for threats against schools

"These are tense times for schools," SDSO said in response to one unsubstantiated threat. "The Sheriff's Department and local school districts take every threat seriously and nothing can be dismissed or ignored."

Law enforcement officers from both departments asked anyone who hears or sees anything suspicious to report it.

"If you see something, hear something, or know something please don’t hesitate to say something," SDPD Officer Joshua Hodge said.

Students are encouraged to reach out to school resource deputies or CrimeStoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. Anyone providing tips that lead to a felony arrest could be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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