Crime - Sacto 911

Violent threats target four Rio Americano students

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating threats against four students written on the wall of a girls’ bathroom at Rio Americano High School, school officials said Wednesday.

Principal Brian Ginter, in a letter emailed to Rio Americano parents, said students discovered graffiti in a bathroom that threatened violence against specific students at the Wilhaggin school. He told parents that the students targeted in the message were removed from class.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Bowman said the department’s Safe School officers who work off-duty for the San Juan Unified School District learned of the threat shortly before 10:30 a.m. She said the graffiti targeted four students who were subsequently interviewed by investigators.

It was the second time this school year a violent threat was found in a bathroom at Rio Americano.

On Oct. 17, a Rio Americano employee found the words “I’m shooting up the school” written on a bathroom wall. The same day, a similar threat was found in a note at another school. Many parents kept their children home from school in subsequent days, and Ginter sent a letter home to parents at that time.

All told last fall, threats were reported at five separate San Juan Unified high schools in what was described as a series of copycat threats.

Two weeks later, a 14-year-old student who “wanted to get a day off from school” at Bella Vista High School was arrested in connection with a shooting threat found at that Fair Oaks campus, authorities said. About half of Bella Vista students stayed away from the school on the day of the threatened violence. Most others left shortly after their arrival.

In the letter sent to parents Wednesday, Ginter said a $500 reward is being offered for any information that results in an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Safe Schools office using anonymous methods listed at www.sanjuan.edu/tellsomeone.

He urged that parents and students report suspicious activity on or near campus and that parents talk to their children about “the severity of such threats” and the disruption they cause “even when they are pranks.”

Call The Bee’s Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaSacBee.

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