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Ponderosa High taking precautions after gun threat

By
From page A3 | December 20, 2013 |

A threat of a school shooting sparked an e-mail response from the Ponderosa High School administration and an increased presence of El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies on campus.

On Dec. 18, a threat of a school shooting was found written in Sharpie in a girls’ bathroom on campus, said Principal Lisa Garrett. It claimed there would be a shooting Friday, Dec. 20. In response, the administration sent an e-mail to parents.

“The Sheriff’s Office is investigating,” Garrett said Thursday. She noted there would be a strong presence of deputies and probation officers on the campus Thursday and Friday, which was confirmed by EDSO Lt. Tim Becker. “The school is also in lockdown right now,” she said. Classes would have their doors locked through Friday.

With 15 years experience in the district, she said that it was “not uncommon” for an incident such as this to happen during finals time, comparing it to a recent bomb scare on the Harvard college campus. This was echoed in the letter to parents. “The message is similar to hoaxes that have been written at other schools in an attempt to escape a day of school or a final exam. It may be a copycat of the Harvard incident that took place on Monday, Dec. 16.”

Despite this, the school is not taking chances. “We take everything seriously. We have put all the proper procedures into place,” Garrett said. “There was no particular person, group or staff member identified in the graffiti,” something that often happens when a student is angry and leaves such a message, she said.

Though it is unknown who wrote the message in the bathroom, “All staff have been advised to keep an extra vigilant eye out for anything suspicious or abnormal, and report anything suspicious to school administration,” the e-mail to parents said.

Ponderosa High School is on a modified schedule Thursday and Friday due to finals; students will not, due to the threat, be released from class even if they finish their finals early.

Contact Cole Mayer at 530-344-5068 or cmayer@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @CMayerMtDemo.

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