SAN RAMON (CBS SF) – FBI agents were on the campus of California High School in San Ramon Thursday, investigating the latest of a series of threats leveled against students and faculty members, school officials confirmed.
There have been three threats in the form of graffiti found on the campus over the last week. The latest threatened gun violence on Thursday. It was found in a boys’ restroom in the Fine Arts Building.
Cal High principal Christopher George said in a letter to staff and parents that the graffiti stated “Tomorrow, library will be shot up first, then courtyard and then myself” and then a racist comment directed towards African Americans.
The first threat was found scrawled across a bathroom wall on Wednesday morning. “Cal will be shot up (May 9). Final warning,” according to district officials.
The FBI said in the wake of a number of school shootings, it’s agents were responding to threats.
“Since the tragedy in Parkland, the FBI has seen a significant increase in threats made to schools and other public places,” said FBI spokeswoman Katherine Zackel. “The FBI works closely with our local law enforcement partners to follow up on threats to public safety.”
Aside from the FBI, there was an increased police presence at the high school as officials attempted to stem growing anxiety among the students.
“We have yet to uncover any evidence that would indicate these threats are credible but at the same time, we cannot completely discredit the possibility of violence at the school tomorrow,” police said in a statement. “Unless we are able to completely discredit the threat, we will have a significant police presence at California High School throughout the day today.”
There are 2,750 students who attend Cal High. But the school district said only 20 percent showed up on Thursday.
“My parents and I decided that I was going to stay home because I feared for my safety,” said freshman Natalie Herberger.
“It’s just really scary, it’s just, why take a chance?” said parent Maria Dobbs. “I’m scared for tomorrow honestly. Because everybody goes back. I don’t know. I just worry about tomorrow.”
Some students came to class because they had an AP test. “I just want to take my test and get out as soon as I can,” said student Niitiggya Taneja.
George said he fully support any parent who decided to keep their child at home on Thursday.
“We will have considerable police presence both on and around our campus,” he wrote. “We have 47 cameras on campus and will also have additional administrators to support staff and students. Despite this presence, some families will choose to keep their children home from school tomorrow and we fully support the decision that you make as a family.”
He said absence would not count on the student’s attendance record.
“We understand and will work with teachers to ensure an absence tomorrow does not impact students,” he wrote. “We will also have additional counselors available for students and staff.”
The FBI also released a statement regarding the threat.
“Since the tragedy in Parkland, the FBI has seen a significant increase in threats made to schools and other public places,” the statement read. “FBI San Francisco stood up a new squad in 2018 to investigate and mitigate an increase in the number of threats to life reported to the FBI. The FBI works closely with our local law enforcement partners to follow up on threats to public safety.”
According to the school district, 80 percent of the students stayed home Thursday in the wake of the threat. Cal High normally has 2,750 students on campus.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police at (925) 973-2779.
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