School officials say no truth to shooting rumor
by Jon Mendelson
Mar 12, 2013 | 11542 views | 47 47 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy Unified School District officials insist there is no truth to a persistent rumor that someone has threatened a shooting at Kimball High School.

District spokeswoman Jessica Cardoza said Tuesday, March 12, that extra security and police officers had been at the 3200 Jaguar Run campus since officials became aware Monday, March 11, that the rumor was circulating through Twitter.

Cardoza said the talk was likely started by graffiti found by a student Friday, March 8, in a girls restroom just before school was dismissed.

She said the student reported the vandalism — which Cardoza said appeared to be in pencil or pen — to a school administrator, who had the graffiti removed.

Because the vandalism wasn’t thought to be gang related or pose a schoolwide threat, Cardoza said police were not informed about the matter Friday, though the school did begin its own investigation.

Cardoza couldn’t say what the exact words were, because of an ongoing investigation, but she said the graffiti did not mention either a gun or a potential target.

“Absolutely not. … The rumor around the students is someone is going to shoot the school down, but there’s no evidence we have that says anything about a gun or a shooting,” she said. “None whatsoever.”

The Tracy Police Department log indicates that someone at the high school reported at 8:12 a.m. Monday that a social media post indicated “there would be a shooting today at the school.”

Cardoza said a parent of a Kimball High student alerted school administrators to Twitter posts Monday morning that suggested a shooting could be planned. She said the shooting rumor probably developed from a Twitter-driven discussion of the graffiti found Friday.

Kimball High Principal Cheryl Domenichelli issued a statement on the school’s website Monday, and a voicemail explaining the situation was sent to parents around 3 p.m. Monday, Cardoza said.

By Tuesday, Cardoza said, the rumors had changed again, and new messages were sent by phone at 11 a.m. and posted on the website.

“The rumor this afternoon … was there was something about a teacher hit list, but we think that is just another rumor traced to a different student,” she said.

Domenichelli’s most recent statement said school officials and the police were “doing everything in our power to keep our campus a safe place.”

“Our school has a comprehensive safety plan in place,” the principal wrote, “and there is no reason students should miss school during the week.”

According to Cardoza, the Tracy Police Department planned to set up a mobile command center at the school Wednesday, March 13, to reassure parents and students.

“We want to really impress upon students and staff and families that we take every single rumor seriously and it will be investigated,” she said. “We want students to always feel safe at school.”

Cardoza added that any student with information about a threat to other students or faculty should tell a teacher or school staff member or call the police department at 831-4550.

Students spreading rumors, however, could be suspended.

“If they are found to be spreading rumors or starting rumors, they are receiving appropriate disciplinary action,” she said. “They would be charged with … disruption of the school day, which leads to suspension.”

• Contact Jon Mendelson at 835-3030 or jmendelson@tracypress.com.

Comments
(47)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
tpblogger
|
March 14, 2013
It's troublesome that some students at Kimball were afraid to attend classes on Wednesday so stayed home, but then arrived in time for after school sports. Interesting "student" -athlete policy adopted by the principal. What's the message being sent regarding priorities?
ConcernedParents
|
March 15, 2013
Not attending school means no practice or game that day, at least that's what it should mean.
mtrew
|
March 16, 2013
The policy states that if they miss all or part of school on a practice day they can still practice. If they miss all or part or are even tardy to a class on game day they cannot play in the game. That policy was not adopted by the principal. It is district wide.

There are many excusable reasons for kids to not be at school but be able to still attend practice such as doctor appointments etc. In a fantasy world I would make all my kids appts after school but that is not always able to be done.I agree they are student athletes with student being the priority. But last week was kind of special circumstances. Yes my kid went to practice on Wed after not attending school. I was not going to have my kids at school on a day of nonsensical hullabaloo of threats, news and police. I did not feel it would be a productive learning day and in fact it was not. I am not judging those who sent their kids to that atmosphere and I would hope they would not judge me for my choice. To each his own.
tpblogger
|
March 16, 2013
Lol ok in advance as a parent you decide it's not going to be a productive day so don't send your child to school. That would be an unexcused abscence. Which again, per district policy, doesn't allow that child to practice after schoo sports. Unless, you lied to the school and said the student was ill?
mtrew
|
March 16, 2013
As i stated this was under special, not normal circumstances. According to information I and others received about attendance that day no matter the excuse it would be an excused absence for that day whether the parent called in or not. It did not matter which excuse anyone gave. Its truly none of anyones elses business. My kids have a great attendance record. Instead of questioning my or any other parents choices for what we did in regards to our child that day maybe put your efforts and criticisms where they should be. Save it for those who caused the problems in the first place. The kids who wrote the graffiti threat and the bomb threat.
mtrew
|
March 16, 2013
I know its very easy to criticize while hiding behind an anonymous screen name. I did what I felt was best for my kids. You may not agree just as Imay or may not agree with your choices. We will have to agree to disagree and I wish you good health and happiness.
ConcernedParents
|
March 18, 2013
Doesn't seem like this message was directed at anyone in particular. A policy question regarding attendance and extra curricular activities.
mtrew
|
March 18, 2013
concerned paretns it became personal with this statement: "Lol ok in advance as a parent you decide it's not going to be a productive day so don't send your child to school. That would be an unexcused abscence. Which again, per district policy, doesn't allow that child to practice after schoo sports. Unless, you lied to the school and said the student was ill?" :)

motherto5
|
March 14, 2013
After everyhing that has ben going on in our Tracy High schools,I am left wondering how on earth did the principle think the kids were in a right state of mind to take the exit exams.Is anybody thinking about are kids and there feelings...SMH
whatchatalkinboutwillis?
|
March 14, 2013
I will say that I have had a child at Tracy and now one at Kimball, the dynamic is totally different. Kimball is extremely rigid and I feel as though the principal is out of touch with the students and parents. I have a hard time believing that in a situation such as the one we are faced with that she has the well being of the students in mind. I feel that the messages sent home were directed more towards the rumors than the actual facts and safety of the students. The teachers were more forthcoming about what was actually going on and the principal was more worried about denying and down playing the possible threat posed to our children. Damage control. To read an article on how our teenagers will be reprimanded for spreading rumors when clearly the staff is just as concerned for their safety as well as the kids' safety is appalling to me.
108MW
|
March 13, 2013
So happy I just got a recorded message from KHS Principal stating "all clear." I also want to thank her for teaching me that it is "against TUSD policy to not threaten staff or student." Oooohhhhhh. Now I feel safer. Shooter beware. You cannot shoot up a school because it is against TUSD policy. I also appreciate be talked to like I'm a 3 year old. Thank you for telling me to remind my kid that it is not okay to shoot people.
122096
|
March 13, 2013
hahaha they really are not doing anything by leaving us these recorded messages. I wish more parents had the same response as you do! im a junior and I do not feel safe at all going to school tomorrow,the police officers that are supposed to keep us 'so safe' don't even do anything they just stand there and creepily stare at everyone!
A.S.
|
March 14, 2013
Are you really sure at it's safe for your child to go BACK to Kimball just becase the principal said it's "all clear"? I just got a message from someone saying that they had to evacuate the whole school when 5th period started because the got a bomb threat. All staff and students are outside at the football field. I didn't go to school today because of the rumors. I'm a freshman and i too go to Kimball. That is why i didn't go. I'm still afraid to go because of these rumors which actually happened.
99999k
|
March 13, 2013
Shelly13, people at kimball high school are so RUDE!!! There's only a few nice people but that's it a FEW!!!!! The staff? Great . Psh please '! I don't like it at kimball I'd rather go to west or Tracy
shelly13
|
March 13, 2013
There's good and bad at any school. How long have you gone to school there? What grade r u? Im sorry u feel that way but i think theres more good than bad at Kimball. Same with all the schools.
122096
|
March 13, 2013
if anything does happen I've learned that my lanyard made of steel will protect me from a bullet lol. I sadly say west high has more of a safer environment than Kimball... and that is saying something.
99999k
|
March 13, 2013
Agreed.
99999k
|
March 13, 2013
*in
99999k
|
March 13, 2013
I hate kimball!!!! High school I feel like I'm prison. Like really!!!
shelly13
|
March 13, 2013
Go spend sime time in a real prison and come back. You will see Kimball is not si bad. There are many great staff and kids there. Just need to get rid of the few bad apples.
KHSdad
|
March 13, 2013
I dont fill safe with Cheryl Domenichelli as principle. She flat out lied to her staff on Monday about the treat. What else will she lie about My son saw what the note said. Some kid took a pic of it and was showing other kids and he said it was posted on some site. I really hope they get a new principle or i will be looking at taking my kid out of there.
Giants1
|
March 13, 2013
I agree..How can you trust anything they say when they have already lied!Lying does not keep people calm!
whatchatalkinboutwillis?
|
March 14, 2013
COMPLETELY AGREE with you KHSdad! Kimball needs a new principal!
108MW
|
March 13, 2013
Safest day at any high school would be today with all of the police and SWAT. It's tomorrow we should be afraid of.
shelly13
|
March 13, 2013
Yes. Tracy high info is on TUSD website. These kids doing this need severe punishment. It happened yesterday at Foothill in Pleasanton also. Graffitti threats in bathroom. I guess we need surveilance where we tinkle now too?
JonnoB
|
March 13, 2013
I understand that at least part if not all of the THS student body has been evacuated to Lincoln Park this afternoon. Can someone confirm?
pnutgallery
|
March 13, 2013
Tracy High is being evacuated to Lincoln Park because of a bomb threat, supposedly related to Kimball's threat.
1219tracy
|
March 13, 2013
Well here's the thing, I never felt Kimball was a very safe campus. I could walk onto campus, go into a class and do whatever and it would be too late by the time someone figured out what I was up to. Kids leave campus all the time to go to lunch and never get caught, the security guard they call Snoop Dog is always high, and the others don't really pay attention, kids that have graduated come on campus wearing an old lanyard and they don't get caught. So when my kid told me about the graffiti and how everyone was scared, I was worried too. The kids in Columbine told other kids what they planned to do and no one believed them. Maybe the kids did blow portions of it up, but it still happened and some kid out there is really mad. Then yesterday there was a death threat to a teacher. Kids witnessed the teacher upset and crying and saying she was scared. So I said stay home it's not worth it, if something happens I'd never forgive myself. So maybe this is a wake up call to Kimball to tighten security, make sure cameras work... Let's hope nothing happens...
Giants1
|
March 13, 2013
I agree! And if they don't want parents and students to speculate then they should be honest from the start and state the facts. This crap that they can't release what was writtin because it's under investagation...Really? Foothil High was able to and they are investagating too! I feel they are trying to cover up things instead of just being honest.Kids did witness that teacher being very upset and they brushed that under the rug too. Kids are nervous , worried scared and of course things are going to get twisted because the school isnt coming out and giving us the facts... that would help with all of that! Now with today's events at Tracy High, What is one suppose to think? It's so sad not being able to send your kids to school even with beefed up security. I just feel like we are being lied to and that scares me just as much.
motherto5
|
March 13, 2013
I am a very concerned parent rumors or not.My biggest concern is with the principle ,threat or rumor of a shooting. But she clearly said no guns or violence involved.How else would you shoot up a school. And I would love to know how the feeling of the children are being cared or addressed. As a parent we are worried, but I know my son was also scared to attend school. He did show up because of testing but I think more should have been done to reassure are kids.Now the threat to the staff appears.Maybe the staff should try being a litle nicer because I read some reviews on the school and the grade it gets is very poor and it all has to do with the staff being unfair and treating kids like there automatic bad students.We need to work together to make this a safe enviroment for are kids.
shelly13
|
March 13, 2013
The comments from the parents are inflammatory? The administration first blew it by posting that "This morning we received notification of a possible shooting at Kimball High School". That was the first sentence. Very poorly worded and freaked many parents out. If you were able to keep your wits about you and read the rest you could see it was a threat, not an actual shooting. But from step one whomever wrote that blew it. It was not a school wide threat? I guess not because it was a threat using a very bad word to describe females. So OK it was a threat to half the school???

Also it started with writing on the bathroom wall of which many have seen. A picture of it made its way around many a cellphone. Though it did not say anything about a shooting, it was a definite threat. Who knows the intention of that student? Then the internet social media became flooded with posts. Who knows which are from the writer of the initial threat and those of other students adding to the fire?

shelly13
|
March 13, 2013
I am glad they are taking this seriously. I am glad the principal re-wrote the alert. I hope they find this person who wrote the graffiti.I am glad for the police presence today but it will be a chaotic day that is not really conducive for learning.

CommonSense321
|
March 13, 2013
Anyone ever stop to consider that the first report may have been of a shooting? These people are responsible for the safety of my child and so many others - I'm impressed they had the time and resources to update us as frequently as they did while handling such a pressing issue.

Think back to emergencies of large scales - how many different messages are sent out? Kudos to KHS for trying to keep us informed as soon as they knew something and then updating throughout the week.
Tracyparent
|
March 13, 2013
I have a child at Kimball, and I for one believe that the school's administration is being responsible. They are obviously working closely with the PD regarding this situation and I for one appreciate the communication by the school-on their website, the phone calls, and the emails. I am sure that the communication is carefully crafted with the PD and TUSD. If indeed it were true, the investigation must be done with discretion and privacy. As parents, it is hard to comprehend how quickly social media can spread from speculation to fact. I know that in questioning my child, it was stated as fact initially, but when more questions were asked to gain info, it was unclear. Let's appreciate that we are getting information, even if it is limited based on what THEY know, and can make decisions as parents as we see appropriate. I also have a child at another high school here in town, and I will say that KIMBALL is much more effective at communicating issues to the parents.
CommonSense321
|
March 13, 2013
The reason these children are panicking is clear - the comments from parents are so inflamatory and ridiculous, how on Earth would their child feel safe with their parent ranting and raving?

I received all messages from the principal and checked the website for the same information. The information provided was very clear and understandibly, they cannot tell us exactly what was said if it is under investigation (as it should be). When I dropped my daughter off this morning there were several police cars and school officials - if that isn't taking this seriously (not to mention all of the messages), I don't know what is.

Take a look at the news lately and you'll see this is a phenomenon. A school in Modesto went through the same thing and now this morning, a school in Pleasanton. When this trouble-makers are found (these are not children needing mental health support, these are no-good pranksters) and punished, the rumors will stop. And when law enforcement and school officials are allowed to do their jobs without hundreds of parents and students spreading rumors on social media - maybe we can all get back to learning.
Tracyparent
|
March 13, 2013
I completely agree with you. Too many people, students and parents, are stating information as fact. The people who have the most information and facts at this point are the Admin and PD. Let them do their job.

Parents, I hope that you are taking this opportunity to talk to your child about what to do in a situation where they feel in danger, and not just at school. That is what our job is- help our children to be confident and prepared.
Deborah_107
|
March 13, 2013
#1) How do you know it was not mental illness. You're making a big assumption #2) I don't know that either, not knowing the individual. #3) I can easily assume that it's a misbehaved child, but I know there are bipolar teens that go to school, and bipolar is not a condition that everyone knows about (informed when the teen has it), and they can be in school, and have anger issues and behavioral problems. You just never know. I had a bipolar friend that I had to distance myself from as she goes off her medications, and gets into serious, deeply disturbing trouble. Behavior has gotten so bad in this generation, that they don't know how to control their tongues, not knowing how to speak properly, without using foul language. I constantly have to ask them to watch it, and walking through the halls, hearing them is just atrocious. I graduated in the 80s and we never had much language like that in the halls and NEVER in class. Not that I didn't swear much, but not in the wrong environment. I don't know if their language is like that at home, but they honestly respond in the classroom, "What?!?!? That's not swearing!"
Maddie1969
|
March 16, 2013
Deborah 107 I find your comments to be completely ignorant! You obviously need t do some more research about Bipolar disorder. Just because you are Bipolar does mean that you are violent and for you to make a statement like that is completely off base and profiling! I just hope to God that they don't actually let someone like you work at the school and if you do you should be let go!
juneisland
|
March 13, 2013
The ambiguity in each message left by the school principal (3 total)is disappointing. Instead of answer questions and instilling confidence the messages created more questions and stripped away confidence. From the onset - honesty would've been the best policy.
Deborah_107
|
March 13, 2013
I actually was subbing there yesterday, and think that they have handled this situation responsibly and admirably. They cannot provide names or exactly what was stated as it's under investigation. Thankfully a teacher that came in just after the principal made a P.A. announcement said that the original statement written in the bathroom never made any mention about guns. I have played telephone in rooms with as many as 30, and as little as 10, and I've only had something get back to me the same once in about 8 years. So no matter how it started, as soon as you get kids talking, tweeting, texting, etc. it's getting blown out of proportion. I heard an inkling of it early in 1st period, of a girl saying, "I can't present my project tomorrow, because my mom's pulling me out for a 'big event.'" I had no clue until 5th period that the girl was referring to the threat. There were two squad cars on campus in the quad, and a couple out in front as I left, so I felt MORE than adequately safe. And there was a special needs girl sitting waiting for her ride out front. She said, "Hi! I'm protecting the school! Nobody's going to get hurt!" I said, "Thank you! You're right. It's just stories."
Deborah_107
|
March 13, 2013
Plus, they were honest, but they can only tell you what they know, and what the police say you can safely say. They had traced it back to the original tweets, so they were handling it in an expedient way, but they're investigating as thoroughly as possible, and trying to get to the bottom of the whole mess. And the first posting by Shelly13 said "possible shooting" vs. "shooting" so right there, no matter what, it was NOT a fact, but a possibility. The really eerily strange thing was the last time I was at Kimball the week before, I was watching some kids playing football that morning, as I was walking to my classroom, thinking about the possibilities of a shooting, and how you would handle things. It's a very real possibility with the insanity of the world these days.
shelly13
|
March 13, 2013
The "fact" I was referring to was the first actual written statement that the principal wrote. She wrote that there was a "possible shooting" where she should have written that there was a "possible threat of a shooting". She left out that one word and it caused a panic. Also, the original threat on the wall stated "kill" not shoot. I believe the shooting reference came from Twitter.

I understand that they need to be vague because it is under investigation. But ask your kid about the pic of the graffiti. Many kids have it.

I am thankful they have taken it seriously. I hope the many kids learn a lesson not to post threats or rumors on social media. They added fuel to the fire and now we have a big mess. Back tot he kid who originally wrote this. If you were serious, I pray for you and hope you get the help you need. if it was a prank, see the problems you caused? Not funny in the slightest. Jail time may be in your future. Oh and don't forget you (your parents) may have to pay restitution for all the extra police presence at your school this week.


We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at tpnews@tracypress.com.