This week has seen a number of so-called “copycat” shooting and bombing threats scrawled in graffiti on toilet walls in San Diego’s schools. Police officials said the various incidents are unrelated and that they are all believed to be hoaxes.
Police officials said the threats, the details of which were not disclosed, promised Virginia Tech- and Columbine-esque shootings and in one case led to the lock-down of eight schools in Vista.
Mayor Jerry Sanders, San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis joined San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Carl Cohn and other school and law enforcement officials at a press conference Friday to assuage parents’ fears.
San Diego Unified School District Police Chief Don Braun said that all of the incidents reported in the city’s schools this week were hoaxes. He said children sometimes made the threats to get the school closed down so they can leave early.
Sanders assured parents that the city’s schools are still the safest place for children to be during the day. Lansdowne said the police are taking every measure they can to ensure children are well-protected.
Three students have been arrested in connection to the graffiti threats.
“Students should be warned. There are serious consequences for these types of pranks, ranging from school expulsion to being charged with a felony,” Sanders said.
Sanders urged parents to send their children to school on Monday, and to not be intimidated by the hoaxes.
“As mayor of the city San Diego, and as a parent myself, I’m appearing before you with all these leaders to assure parents that we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our schools, and that we’ll remain vigilant to any and all threats that are made to their children’s safety,” Sanders said.