Tuesday, June 25, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 10th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 32

Kermit McKenzie placed on lockdown due to threat

By Kasey Bubnash

Students and staff at Kermit McKenzie Intermediate School in Guadalupe were placed on lockdown for an hour Oct. 9 after law enforcement discovered a social media post threatening the school. 

Carlos Limon, interim chief of the Guadalupe Police Department, said that although he couldn't say exactly who threatened the school or via which social network platform, the post involved threats of firearm violence.

Authorities arrived on campus at about 9 a.m. that day to inform school officials, who immediately placed the school on lockdown, according to a Guadalupe Union School District press release. The lockdown was lifted at about 10:30 a.m., when law enforcement concluded that school could safely continue as usual with limited access. 

Parents and guardians were notified, according to the release, and Limon said the post is still being investigated. Guadalupe Police have not yet determined whether or not the threat was credible. 

Officials at Kermit McKenzie could not be reached for further comment before the Sun's press time. 

The investigation at Kermit comes about eight months after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 sparked an influx in violent threats against schools in Santa Barbara County and across the nation. 

Immediately following the Parkland shooting, the Santa Maria Police Department and Santa Maria Joint Union High School District discovered and investigated threatening Snapchats posted by two separate students, causing more than 300 Santa Maria High School students to skip school on Feb. 16.

Days later, a month-old direct messaging conversation between two Cabrillo High School students via Instagram was investigated by several Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies on Feb. 22, according to the Sheriff's Office, after it "raised concerns" among students and staff. 

The Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of the Lompoc Unified School District, also investigated rumors of an alleged Snapchat post and "hit list," which resulted in increased patrols near the school following the investigations. 

Then on Feb. 23, an alleged verbal threat made by a 13-year-old Carpinteria Middle School student was investigated by the Sheriff's Office, leading to the student's arrest.

Those threats resulted in various community debates on school safety, gun policy reform, and school resource officers and deputies. 

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