Hemet High Principal Emily Shaw specifically threatened

Last week, Hemet High School became another target of the aftermath from the Parkland, Florida, school shooting Feb. 14. This is just one of several local schools being threatened.

On Tuesday, a student scribbled a threat on the stall in a girls’ bathroom at HHS. Not only was the school threatened, but Principal Dr. Emily Shaw was mentioned as a specific target, and that it would occur the following day. The school was shut down and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department called.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Department announced that it had “… discovered a 16-year-old female Hemet High School student authored the threat.” After searching the student’s residence, she “… was ultimately booked into the Riverside County Juvenile Detention Center for making the threat.” The student’s name was not released.

The Sheriff’s Department was aided by school staff. It took time, but sheriff’s staff reviewed the handwriting from many student reports. Eventually, they identified one that matched the writing on the bathroom wall, according to Hemet Station Sgt. Robert Duckett.

The original threat mentioned a sophomore girl, which narrowed down the review, he added.
Shaw was surprised, but did not falter as principal, according to Alexandrea Sponheim, public information officer for Hemet Unified School District.

“As you can imagine, it was definitely unsettling for her to be personally mentioned in the threat. However, throughout the entire process, the safety of students and staff was her top priority,” Sponheim wrote.

HHS was not the only local school to be targeted. West Valley High School and Diamond Valley Middle School also received shooting threats.

Tuesday evening, Feb. 27, a custodian at West Valley notified the Sheriff’s Department and a resource officer was dispatched. On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Department did not believe this threat was credible.

Wednesday afternoon, a student reported hearing shots near Diamond Valley School, but none were confirmed. Later, a student also was arrested, according to other media.

Responding to these potential situations is “extremely time consuming, but we take them seriously as threats to children and the public,” Duckett said.

In a message to parents throughout the district, HUSD wrote, “We can however state that the district takes all threats, including pranks, very seriously and we work diligently with our law enforcement partners to pursue any person of interest. This type of activity is disruptive to our school sites and the thousands of students we are committed to protecting. We strive to provide an environment where students can learn and realize their academic potential.”

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