Outraged parents are moving swiftly to force officials at a California school district to have a boy removed from its schools after he threatened to kill 30 people at a middle school earlier this year, KTVU-TV reported.
Parents at Sequoia Middle School in Pleasant Hill, California, were unaware before school started that a 13-year-old boy arrested for making terroristic threats at another middle school in the district had been transferred to their children's school this year.
Kim Childers said she learned the information from her son after he came home on the first day of school. He told her he had two classes with the boy. Authorities have withheld the boy's name because he's a juvenile.
“This is a huge deal to me,’’ Childers told KTVU. “I kept my son home today [Tuesday] and we are looking into homeschooling and doing independent study for now.”
Childers went into action and created an online petition urging officials to completely remove the student from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.
The petition started on Monday has gathered more than 800 signatures.
Classes began Aug. 16 at the San Francisco Bay area school. The two middle schools are about three miles apart.
What's the back story?
The teenager, who attended Valley View Middle School in nearby Concord, California, at the time, allegedly sent a Snapchat message to another student that said he planned to "kill at least 30 people" on June 7, the last day of school, according to authorities, KNTV-TV previously reported.
A homophobic slur and 30 gun emoji were included in the message, according to KTVU.
A friend notified the Concord Police Department who seized numerous firearms from the teen's home and took him into custody on suspicion of terroristic threats, according to KTVU.
Following the incident, Valley View principal Lisa Sullivan sent a note to the students.
The FBI was also informed and issued a statement.
"This incident could have been the next school shooting, but because of the partnership we have with our private sector and local law enforcement partners, it was prevented," the FBI wrote.
The Contra Costa district attorney never charged the boy, spokesman Scott Alonso told the news station.
What did Sequoia's principal say?
On Tuesday, Sequoia principal Kevin Honey sent home a letter to parents, which was obtained by TheBlaze.
"When a student engages in such behavior, there are two separate processes; one includes school discipline, and the other are criminal proceedings.
"While I am unable to go into specific details, I can confirm that law enforcement was involved as a result of these threats – something all our schools and the District take very seriously – and disciplinary procedures were started. Upon concluding their investigation, law enforcement notified the District that there was no viable threat and they declined to press charges," Honey wrote.
"The District also followed the due process student disciplinary policies outlined in the student handbook and in alignment with Education Code.
"Please know that we would never take actions or do anything to compromise the safety of our students, staff, visitors, and community. We all share the same concerns and fears when it comes to school safety, and it will always be one of our top priorities here at Sequoia Middle School and throughout MDUSD," the email said.
Honey has urged parents to attend the school board meeting scheduled for Monday night.
What did the police say?
Pleasant Hill Police Lt. Scott Vermillion said there are no plans to increase patrols or security at the school, adding that the school resource officer will continue to make routine visits, according to KTVU.
What did the parents say?
Many parents have left comments on the petition's wall.
"Students like this should be in alternative learning environments. They need to be in a place where there are professionals trained to deal with violent behaviors," an anonymous petitioner wrote. "It's much too risky to put students like this where there is minimum supervision and the campus is quite open. We live in the Sequoia neighborhood and I have school age children. I feel very strongly that students who threaten the lives and safety of others have lost their rights to public education."
Maria B. wrote, "My children go to Pleasant Hill schools and my daughter is at VVMS. She was petrified of dying in a mass shooting. This child was armed and dangerous and had every intention of killing our children. He should not be on public school campuses!"
"I don’t believe anyone is being served by this decision. The child certainly needs more therapy, guidance, and close monitoring," another petitioner wrote. "The students & staff at SMS & SES should never have to worry that a known deadly & terrorizing criminal intent was made by a student at their school. I doubt the staff & any security measures are equipped or adequate to handle a potentially volatile student like this. As a retired MDUSD teacher and a resident in the Sequoia neighborhood, this makes no sense to me & is a very short-sighted decision that is certainly not a solution."