In a second threat against a William S. Hart Union High School District campus in two days, the students at Canyon High School were told by administrators to not come onto campus Thursday after a threat was found spray-painted in a school bathroom.
According to Superintendent Mike Kuhlman, graduation is still scheduled to be held at College of the Canyons on Thursday. However, it will not be mandatory for staff to come on campus, either.
“Earlier today we discovered several instances of graffiti in a girls’ bathroom on the Canyon campus that threatened gun violence on campus for Thursday, June 2,” Kuhlman said in an email Wednesday. “We suspect this is a misguided prank. However, as always, we take everything completely seriously.”
With finals being scheduled for Canyon on Thursday, and with what has happened locally and in Texas, Kuhlman said he recognizes that the Canyon community is “on edge.”
“While we suspect this is a hoax, we are telling kids to stay home tomorrow and making attendance at work optional for staff at Canyon as an extra precaution,” said Kuhlman. “To reiterate, we do not suspect this is credible, but cannot determine one way or another definitively in time to calm anxious nerves. We hope this step alleviates unnecessary anxiety on this last day of the instructional year.”
In addition to the abundance of caution, Kuhlman said the Canyon High graduation would be guarded by “extensive security with law enforcement on hand along with a private security company and multiple district administrators.”
“Law enforcement is currently looking to enhance coverage again in an abundance of caution,” Kuhlman added.
As for finals for grades 9-11, Principal Shellie Holcombe wrote in a separate email to parents that teachers would be reaching out Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning with instructions on how to access the final exams.
“Since tomorrow is the last day of school and it wouldn’t involve significant disruption to student schedules, we are opting to transition tomorrow’s final exams for periods 2 and 7 to an online format,” Holcombe said. “We are hoping that by doing so, we can calm anxious nerves as we head into summer break.”
Deputy Natalie Arriaga, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, said deputies were working with the district to conduct a “thorough school threat assessment” on Wednesday. She declined to state what was written in the message on the bathroom wall, citing that it was an ongoing investigation.
The threat at Canyon High was reported less than a day after a Newhall man was arrested on suspicion of making a threat against Saugus High School. The man was identified as a former student of Saugus, and remains in custody as of Wednesday afternoon.
Holcombe ended her email to parents by stating the school was able to act quickly due to the fact that someone “saw something and said something.” Holcombe then urged Canyon students and families, if they hadn’t already done so, to consider placing the contact information for the Canyon High School Student Care Line in their phones at 661-772-7389.
“It is important for everyone to know that there are logical consequences that arise from the choice to make threatening comments — whether they be real or a misguided attempt at a joke,” said Holcombe. “We will be enforcing appropriate discipline and we know law enforcement will do so as well.”