CHINO HILLS (CBSLA) — After the massacre in Florida that left 17 people dead, threats against schools in the Southland have soared.
Authorities are taking the threats seriously and a flurry of arrests have been made.
KCAL9’s Tina Patel reports from Chino Hills where parents were surprised to learn such a threat was made at Oak Ridge Elementary School by a 12-year-old student.
That student is under arrest, she reported.
“It’s an elementary school student. That’s just very shocking that someone tat age would consider doing something,” said Nora Ganigan.
Officials said a concerned person came to the station Thursday after discovering a rap video the 12-year-old made that allegedly mentioned fighting students and shooting a school staff member.
“It happens everywhere,” says Chino Hills parent Ray Jones. “It doesn’t matter what city you’re in. So I’m not too surprised by that, but surprised it happened, that some kid actually made lyrics like that. That’s pretty nerve racking.”
Also nerve-racking, the number of arrests being made for similar threats — in Long Beach, Whittier, Norco, Santa Clarita and Yucca Valley.
A student was arrested for allegedly plotting against a school in South Whittier. A stash of guns were found at his home, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. His 28-year-old brother, an Army veteran, was also arrested.
Two Long Beach high school students were separately arrested Wednesday, accused of making threats to commit shootings at their schools. On Thursday, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at a Long Beach K-8 school was arrested for allegedly threatening school officials. He was taken into custody at the Tincher Preparatory School.
A 15-year-old freshman student was arrested Thursday in connection with an alleged shooting threat that forced the lockdown of a Santa Clarita school.
A 27-year-old Norco man was arrested Monday for a threat against a local college. A cache of weapons were found at his home, Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies said.
Dr. Amy Klinger of the Educator’s School Safety Network said there is reason to be concerned.
“It is alarming,” Klinger said. “We’ve seen a pretty dramatic increase. Normally, we track around 10 or 11 incidents a day and since the tragedy in Florida, we’ve been tracking anywhere from 50-65 threats a day.”
Partly to blame for the increase? What she calls the “copy cat” factor.
“You have this copy cat mentality,” she says ,”where if it worked over there, I could do that, too, and I want to be famous and I want people to be afraid of what I’ve said.”
The number of threats will, likely, go down in time. But Klinger believes the increased conversation about school safety will be a good thing.
“Any threat to a school and any incident in school is one too many,” she says, “so even when the numbers go down, we still need to keep this a priority.”