Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

School Threats Unnerve Locals Following Gunfire Report Last Week

After a handful of violent threats were found scrawled on the walls of school bathrooms last week, school administrators have increased security on campuses and are urging parents to send their childr

After a handful of violent threats were found scrawled on the walls of school bathrooms last week, school administrators have increased security on campuses and are urging parents to send their children to school. But are parents listening? And are students afraid to go to school? Full Focus reporter Heather Hill has an update.

After a report of gunfire near a Vista elementary school last Friday, eight schools within a one-mile radius were put on lockdown. Some students spent hours crouching beneath their desks while concerned parents gathered on nearby street corners.

Over the week, six different messages threatening school shootings were found scrawled on bathroom walls in the Poway and San Diego school districts. Today, parents, students and teachers are trying to get back to their normal routines.

On the campus of Poway High School this morning, it appeared to be business as usual -- parents lining up to drop off their kids. The threat at Poway High was discovered last Thursday and almost half of the student body didn't attend class on Friday. And even though most of those students returned to school today, parents say it’s tough to know when to take threats seriously.

Cynthia Smith, Poway High Parent: I tell my kids, this is your world now. And we never had this when we were growing up. So we have to pay attention to all the markers.

But some students aren't as worried as their parents. Thomas Lokensgard says he wasn't scared away by what happened last week.

Lokensgard : As for the guy who left that threat on Thursday, well, there really wasn't that much cause for concern in my opinion because he's really just some idiot who thinks he's the funniest guy in the world when he's not.

Last week, Poway Unified Superintendent, Donald Phillips, sent a phone message to parents encouraging them to send their students back to school today and emphasizing the district's added security measures. He says it's a challenge for administrators to strike a balance between taking precautions and causing unnecessary alarm.

Phillips : How do you manage this communication flow that's so rapid and so intense that you run the risk that rumors can fly and stories can fly long before they're able to be confirmed.

For Lokensgard, he takes away this message.

Lokensgard : Be ready for the worst, but don't expect it, basically.

The Poway Unified School District is offering a $2,000 reward for any information on who's behind the threats.