Virginia Stewart, executive director of the K-12 charter school at 51 E. Beverly Place, said a student found “suspicious” graffiti on the wall of a boys bathroom around 9:10 a.m. between two class periods.
Stewart wouldn’t describe it as a bomb threat. Four bomb threats have been made against Tracy Unified School District high schools since Wednesday, March 13.
On Tuesday, Tracy Learning Center students were moved from classrooms using a standard fire drill, Stewart said. They remained on the school field away from on-campus buildings while two Tracy Police Department officers examined the writing, the location “pinpointed” by the graffiti and the rest of the school.
Stewart said the officers and school staff members agreed that the writing didn’t “really look terribly serious,” saying it was scrawled next to other graffiti and was partially smeared.
She said the graffiti indicated a specific time, and the time passed without incident. Police, she said, “felt very strongly that it was safe.”
Students waited outside about 15 minutes before school officials decided classes could continue.
“Everybody has to take things seriously,” Stewart said. “It had to be looked at.”
She said school administrators were “very disappointed” at whoever was responsible for Tuesday’s graffiti, especially in light of a series of separate bomb threats at Tracy High School and Kimball High School.
“Police feel there’s been a lot of contagion. … At this point, it feels very copycat,” Stewart said. “It’s sad and it’s scary that the kids don’t realize how serious it is. We have to take precautions but can’t play into it so much.”
Tracy High was evacuated around 2:05 p.m. Wednesday when threats were found on the walls of two bathrooms.
Teachers and students staying after school Thursday, March 14, were forced from the 315 E. 11th St. campus when another bomb threat was found in a bathroom.
Kimball High was evacuated just before 1:30 p.m. Thursday in response to a phone call warning that there could be a bomb at the 3200 Jaguar Run school.
Students at Kimball were also evacuated at about 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 18, because of a threat found in a boys locker room.
In accordance with TUSD policy, all the schools that experienced threats were cleared by bomb-sniffing dogs, which are provided by Modesto-based contractor Kontraband Intradiction and Detection Services Inc.
No one was hurt in any of the incidents.
Two Tracy High School students were arrested Thursday in connection with the first incident at that school. As of Thursday, Tracy police said they were set to be charged with making terrorist threats and making a bomb threat — both felonies — and a misdemeanor charge of disrupting school.
Stewart said Tracy Learning Center, as a charter school, is not bound by TUSD policies and has its own safety procedures, which she said were followed Tuesday.
Those procedures are being reviewed by a committee of school administrators and parents formed in February in response to the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“We want to be proactive,” Stewart said. “That’s what we’re striving for — a joint effort (with parents).”
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