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Students Stay Away From Pleasanton School After Graffiti Threat

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Students sit in a mostly-empty classroom at Foothill High School, March 14, 2013. (Isabela Castaneda)

Students sit in a mostly-empty classroom at Foothill High School, March 14, 2013. (Isabela Castaneda)

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PLEASANTON (CBS SF) – Two days after the discovery of graffiti which threatened a school shooting, there were rows of empty desks at Foothill High School in Pleasanton as many students stayed away.

The graffiti, found on the wall of a girl’s bathroom Tuesday afternoon, warned of a shooting on campus on Thursday, March 14th.

In one second-period classroom Thursday morning, an image supplied by a student showed mostly empty desks. The student said only 10 out of 35 students were in class.

Despite the observation, Pleasanton Unified School District spokeswoman Nicole Steward claimed the morning attendance at the high school was about 92 percent.

Steward said about 110 students called out of school, and the cheerleading squad and lacrosse team were away at events. Some other students were on school-organized field trips, she said.

There are 2,200 students enrolled at the school.

Principal John Dwyer said there would be increased patrols on campus throughout the week and that counselors were on hand to support students feeling anxious.

One student who did attend class Thursday said it’s apparent from social media that many students are taking advantage of the situation to skip class. “Some people are legitimately scared and are staying home, but other people are using it as an excuse to stay away,” said senior Isabela Castaneda.

“I don’t feel threatened or in danger,” said Castaneda, who chairs a Foothill student committee which addresses issues such as bullying. “But it’s just a sad situation that someone felt the need to write that.”

It’s still not known who left the graffiti and school officials have not told students anything more than what had already been announced, said Castaneda.

Pleasanton Police said it would be working with school officials to identify who was responsible for the graffiti. Parents or students with information about the graffiti were asked to call the school as soon as possible.

Steward said while it’s being determined how serious the threat is, the person who did it would not necessarily be punished and that the district wants to make sure the students has the services she or he needs.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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