Woodside student hospitalized after scary confession

A 15-year-old Woodside High School student has been hospitalized after telling a counselor he had considered harming fellow students, one in a series of recent school-based threats that have officials on high alert following the April 14 shootings at Virginia Tech.

The student, whose name is not being released because of his age, was taken into custody by San Mateo County Sheriff’s officers late last week after telling his Woodside counselor that he considered harming “bad” or “disruptive” students, Capt. Don O’Keefe said.

The North Fair Oaks teen was placed on psychiatric hold and taken to San Mateo County General Hospital, but has since been transferred to St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco for evaluation, Woodside High School principal Linda Common said.

Officers obtained a warrant and searched the boy’s bedroom on April 27. They found no evidence of weapons or bomb-making materials, but confiscated his computers and are combing through them for any evidence of an attack plan, O’Keefe said.

“He was watching all the media about Virginia Tech, and that’s where a lot of his thoughts came from,” Common said. “He scared himself with the thoughts he was having.”

The confession echoes several near-misses at schools across the country since the day Seung-Hui Cho opened fire at Virginia Tech, killing 32 and injuring at least 15 others before turning the gun on himself.

On Monday, Baden High School in South San Franciscowas locked down after an anonymous student called in and claimed that someone had been killed on campus; nobody was found dead or injured. That same day, a Scotts Valley High School was closed after officials found a fake bomb and racist graffiti.

Four Sacramento teens were arrested last week for planning to shoot two classmates and Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley was closed after a bomb threat. </p>

On April 18, a UC Berkeley student from the Boalt Hall School of Law made a fake bomb threat to San Francisco’s Hastings College of Law, closing the latter school for most of a day, and two days later a 28-year-old man was jailed after threatening a rampage on Yuba and Sutter county schools that would “make Virginia Tech look mild,” according to news reports.

If sheriff’s investigators find evidence of a crime, they will turn over the Woodside student’s case to the juvenile district attorney for consideration, O’Keefe said. That office sees cases like these “at most, once or twice a month,” according to deputy Eddie Thomas.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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