Police called to deal with third campus threat in two weeks; others judged hoaxes
Security was tightened at San Francisco’s prestigious School of the Arts on Friday after school officials arrived on campus in the morning and found threatening graffiti on several walls.
Donn Harris, the principal of the coveted public school, said police were immediately summoned to the campus, and the anonymous threats were painted over as soon as photographs were taken for the investigation.
"It said ‘students will die,’ or something like that," said SFPD Lt. Colleen Fatooh, who oversees the district’s on-campus police program.
Although the students were not put on lockdown, a standard response to threats of violence in San Francisco’s public schools, students were kept under close supervision, Harris said.
"We had students moving quickly from class to class, with no loitering," Harris said. "They were with a teacher under supervision at every point in the school day."
Police officers were also on hand throughout the day, inside the school, but also monitoring the campus’ perimeter for intruders, Harris said.
Students, who come from all over The City to attend arts classes at the Twin Peaks campus, were not sent home early. At the end of the day, teachers and police officers escorted students to bus stops, according to district officials.
This is the third threat made at a San Francisco school in the last two weeks; the other two were determined to be hoaxes, according to district officials.
On Wednesday, two students at James Denman Middle School made a false report that they overheard other students in the bathroom saying they had a gun on campus and were going to shoot some students.
Last week, someone with a youthful-sounding voice called Hoover Middle School’s office and said, "I have a gun and I’m going to shoot someone on the yard," according to district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe. That school was also put on lockdown while police conducted a thorough search and investigation, she said. No weapons were foundand the person who made the call is still unknown.
In the wake of the recent spate of school shootings in other parts of the country, San Francisco’s interim superintendent, Gwen Chan, said students who make fake threats of harm could be expelled.
"There are consequences for false reporting," Chan told The Examiner. "We take it very seriously."