Education

Parents at 2 SLO schools alerted to ‘cryptic’ threat — made by teen girl in Tennessee

San Luis Obispo High School.
San Luis Obispo High School. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Authorities have determined that a “cryptic, non-specific” email sent to a local teacher doesn’t pose a danger to students and teachers at Laguna Middle School and San Luis Obispo High School — and was sent by a teen girl in Tennessee with no ties to the area, according to police.

A Laguna Middle School teacher received the email, which threatened to “shoot up the school,” at about 4:50 p.m. Monday, according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo Police Department. The email mentioned a middle and high school, but did not specify, Lt. John Bledsoe said in an email.

“The email did not name Laguna Middle School or any specific individuals associated with the school in this threat,” the news release said. “Police do not believe there is an ongoing threat to students, faculty or campus.”

According to emails sent to parents by Laguna Middle principal John Calandro and San Luis Obispo High principal Leslie O’Connor, school staff alerted San Luis Obispo police of the email.

Police investigated the email and obtained an IP address that traced back to a person and residence in Tennessee, the news release said.

“The police have no reason to believe there is any threat to our school,” the principals wrote in their emails.

Police found no evidence that the person who wrote the email had ties to San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo High or Laguna Middle School, and notified Tennessee authorities and the FBI, according to the police news release.

Police said they later learned from Tennessee authorities that a 14-year-old girl was responsible for the emailed threat, according to the news release. The girl was arrested Tuesday, Calandro said in an email statement.

Faculty members, staff and students were told of the situation, the emails said. The schools also had police officers and district staff on campus on Tuesday.

“Please know all students are safe and we are communicating this to you to keep you informed and let you know what has taken place,” the principals’ emails said.

About 20 to 25 students were picked up from school by parents as a result of the principals’ emails, O’Connor told The Tribune.

“It was an unsubstantiated threat,” said Kimberly McGrath, San Luis Coast Unified School District assistant superintendent. “We had no cancellations or evacuations. It was an out-of-state internet type of scam, and we’ve made no adjustments to our school schedule.”

Police said the case has been turned over to Tennessee law enforcement for further investigation. Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the San Luis Obispo Police Department at 805-781-7317 or CrimeStoppers at 805-549-7867.

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Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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