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Police: Threat against Palo Alto High was a hoax

Original post made on Mar 29, 2018

A threat against Palo Alto High School has led to a lockdown at Paly and the Palo Alto school district this afternoon, according to police.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 29, 2018, 12:57 PM

Comments (48)

Posted by Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:12 pm

A similar incident happened at Cupertino High School on Tuesday. Wonder if these are coordinated terror attacks.


Posted by Also Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Could this incident and the Cupertino one be connect to the recent activism among teens on school shootings?


Posted by Alum 87
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Cupertino was a call to the school, this was to PAPD.
I hope some updates this with help and contact info.
Above all, let’s hope everybody is ok.
I wish the lockdown let some students leave instead of going to class when they are or were close to the exits.


Posted by Another Paly student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Any info on the nature of the threat?


Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm

For updates: www.twitter.com/PaloAltoPolice or paweekly.com. Lots of e-mail updates flowing from PAUSD admins.


Posted by a student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:30 pm

i am seriously worried right now we are under lockdown and i dont know if this was just someone threatning the school to terrify the students or a legitimate threat.


Posted by paly oarent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:34 pm

from student, sounds like papd is searching for the person w/ phone who called it in at paly. doing room to room search.


Posted by Another Paly student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:36 pm

As of now it seems like there is no legitimate threat to the school. Police that have arrived will help if that is not the case.


Posted by Paly Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Palo Alto police posted this update 45 minutes ago:

Officers are investigating a threat of violence phoned into our Department just now directed at Palo Alto High School. Out of an abundance of caution, expect a heavy police presence in the area while we investigate. The school is on lockdown as a precaution.

"A student" -- There are a lot of officers there to help, so please try not to worry. The lockdown is a precaution to ensure student safety.


Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:43 pm

[Post removed; determined to be inaccurate.]


Posted by samrock1500
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Paly Parent -- pls do not post unconfirmed reports unless you are the police or a reporter with confirmation -- you repeating these things only concern people.
If you know something is 100% true pls share -- otherwise stop!


Posted by Another Paly Student
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:55 pm

^can anyone else confirm the comment above?


Posted by Another Paly student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Is the entire school being evacuated or only certain classrooms?


Posted by Paly student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Admin has not updated us in an hour. Noting better but nothing worse


Posted by Also Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:03 pm

[Post removed; determined to be inaccurate.]


Posted by Another paly student
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:06 pm

How could he have been framed? If so, why has the lockdown not been lifted yet?


Posted by Penny
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:10 pm

From the article “According to one parent, whose child had texted her, the threat was that an active shooter was on campus. This has not been confirmed by the police or the school district, however.“

Isn’t this statement just as much hearsay as the comment on the article about a students report to the mother, which received an “editors note”


Posted by YAPP
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:11 pm

The threat to the Palo Alto HS campus has been cleared by the PAPD. Afternoon dismissal will proceed as usual (3:25pm) - Paly Attendence


Posted by YAPP
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm

"Update and good news: Officers have determined that the phoned-in threat was likely a hoax." - PAPD Tweet


Posted by Lynn Ware
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:27 pm

So much for "It won't happen here."


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2018 at 2:32 pm

With the (fake) phoned-in threat to Cupertino High School, authorities on tv news said there have been a bunch of these nationwide - like nasty scammers who phone us in the general public all the time with scams.The government and utilities (cell and landline providers) need to get with it and crack down NOW on scamming and spoofing of legit phone numbers, too! This is a major thing and unacceptable. Very sorry to hear this likely affected Paly - hoping not anything worse, of course!


Posted by Yet Another Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Eh... I'm glad this didn't turn into a school shooting. On the plus side, a bunch of tests and quizzes got canceled! (just a joke.)


Posted by Yet Another Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:15 pm

From what's been going around, it seems like a student was framed. Someone called the police and claimed said student was going to shoot up the campus. Guy was taken out of his classroom, but was cleared later.


Posted by Paly Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:34 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Nick
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Lyne Ware: no one ever said "It won't happen here".


Posted by Also Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:03 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Posted by Kathy Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:09 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Posted by Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Five minutes after the lock down announcement went over the speakers I could still see other students walking by the classroom door because:
1)They came from Town and Country or something like that after the announcement was made one time on the speakers
2)Some classrooms don't even have working emergency warning systems or announcement speakers


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:54 pm

The question now arises is what worked and what didn't work through this.

Were the right alerts sent out by text, email, to every teacher, every parent and to every student in the school? Were those students who may have been off campus for that period, or in a bathroom, or changing for PE, made aware of what to do?

In any practice drill which is scheduled, these are things which cannot be rehearsed.

These are questions that should be asked to prepare for the "next time".


Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:54 pm

In exchanging texts with my daughter as she was scared and crouched in a corner in a classroom during the lockdown, I thought how crazy it is that the word "lockdown" is, for teens these days, as normal as saying recess. It makes me sad that they live in a world in which they have to go through horrifying experiences like this. In addition, I am shocked that the administration required the students to attend the last class period after the lockdown was lifted. These kids were given no break to process this scary event. I am not sure how that decision was made, but I feel it reinforces the feeling that this sort of thing is now normal.


Posted by Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm

I wish they had actual alarms instead of the going on the PA. I was walking to class see, and the first time it came on the surroundings too loud to hear and the second one came I was sprinting to class and almost locked out.


Posted by Another Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 5:27 pm

The issue also arrives in how can students be safe if when in hiding in class, one of the kids is actually the shooter.


Posted by Another Random Paly Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 7:02 pm

I was coming back from T & C when a teacher told my friends and I to get back to where we came from. Glad we got such a quick response, but it was terrifying. I can only imagine how the students on campus must have felt. This is ridiculous though and it's actually scary to think about how school shootings are now almost common; something to be afraid of.


Posted by Concerned Grandma
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 29, 2018 at 8:22 pm

"A SWAT officer with a AR-15 rifle was seen standing in front of Trader Joe's."

Police armed with an assault rifle standing in front of a grocery store. This is frightening. The militarization of our community is alarming.

Of course the threat to students is horrifying, but we have here in the US a gun culture arming police with weapons and an overkill attitude. Witness recent shooting and killing of a young man holding a cell phone in his grandmother's back yard in Sacramento just days ago. 20 shots fired at him. He had no weapon.


Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2018 at 8:56 pm

@paly parent

Why would students be asked to attend the last period of the day when minutes before they were in lockdown mode? When we deal with incidents like this, we normalize this type of violence, which should not be normalized. Kids should have been sent home.


Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 29, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

We have an outstanding police force and excellent new police chief. However, they alone cannot react in time from off campus to stop a determined attacker.

Dishearteningly, there are very few things one can stand behind on a modern city block that will stop a bullet or fragmentation from an improvised explosive device.

Our campuses are terribly inadequate when it comes to creating a secure perimeter or safe spaces for shelter. Palo alto prides itself in being a world leader in many best practices. Why not in safe schools?

Fortunately, tactics, materials, technology and personnel are available today to harden and defend our school sites without turning them into fortresses. They can disrupt, delay and protect our children from an assault long enough to make all the difference. It just takes the right mindset.

In the event you agree, consider contacting the city council (city.council@cityofpaloalto.org) and school board (board@pausd.org) to let them know that rapid response by itself is not an effective strategy.

We should insist on the establishment of an upgraded defensive plan for each site that is robust, rehearsed, measured and audited.

If we can find facility money to change school names surely we can find the resources to improve the defensive capabilities of our schools and safeguard our kids. Let's make it a priority.


Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 10:10 pm

@Concerned Grandma: Don't get me started. But you already did. Stephon Clark was running and hopping through yards in the dark. Someone reported that he broke window. Cops told him to show his hands, and they thought he had a gun, as heard on the body camera. The cops feared for their lives, thought they saw a gun. Do you know how difficult it is when you fear for your life? Web Link Why didn't Stephon just stand still and put up his hands as asked? He'd still be alive today. He knew they were after him, the helicopter was shining light on him. You can't blame the cops for this one, they are not superhuman; bullets can kill them. They thought the cell phone was a gun. The only reason no one is screaming racism is that the officer was also black. Otherwise, it'd be a whole different chant.

[Portion removed.]

Re Town & Country armed guards: Can't expect law enforcement to use a baton to stop a gunman with a machine gun.


Posted by PALY Student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I was inside during the lockdown and at first it was scary and overwhelming because we didn’t know if it was real or not, but everyone knew what to do and my teacher stayed very calm and made sure we were all safe. I don’t know about the other rooms, but I felt secure after I learned what the situation was. Throughout the hour and a half that we were waiting, my teacher checked on us and improved the barricades. Some other comments are talking about how we are unprepared for something like this, but I disagree as most people who I talked to, including myself, felt safe after the initial confusion subsided.


Posted by GraceBrown
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2018 at 10:18 pm

GraceBrown is a registered user.

@Paly Parent, @Observer

Most families allowed their students to leave campus. Parents who did not likely did so because they were not available to meet their students at home. Schools have a legal obligation to keep students safe during school hours - EVERY SINGLE TEACHER ON THE PALY CAMPUS DID SO DURING TODAY'S LOCKDOWN. "Hoax" or not, today Paly teachers ensured that Paly kids made it home safely.

More broadly, after the release from lockdown, without a parent at home, school is the safer place in these situations.

From what I understand, most/every teacher debriefed the experience with students who attended 7th period - useful for those students who were present - who are you to decide what students need / don't need?

Until you are both are willing to ride out two hours crouched on a classroom floor with 30 teens, checking the PAPD Twitter feed, Paly REMIND, SnapChat, and FB, I I respectfully suggest that you hold off on your indictment of PAUSD leadership.

GB


Posted by Rayme Waters
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 29, 2018 at 11:10 pm

I want to thank the PAPD and Paly for their preparedness and good communication during this lockdown. As always, there will be much second guessing by those who weren't there. However, I value your work and the stress that events like this add to the already hectic jobs of teaching and policing. There is no "right" answer for how to handle this, and I'm sure there will be lessons learned from today, but I feel a debt to the teachers, administrators and police who put their lives on the line to try and make sure my two girls, and all of their classmates at Paly, are safe. We were lucky it was only a hoax. I truly hope they catch the idiot who made the call.


Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 29, 2018 at 11:28 pm

^ and what, give him probation and mental health counseling?


Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2018 at 1:26 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Sanctimonious City - secure perimeters and safe spaces aren't protection from a phone threat. At this point, a handful of terrorists with cell phones could shut down the country. This kind of extreme reaction to an anonymous phone call does more harm than good. There was a bigger chance of an accidental shooting than a real one.


Posted by Paly staff member
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:10 am

It was not a hoax to us! Students remained calm, quiet and helpful because they were prepared.


Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:53 am

A huge thank you to the staff members for keeping the students calm during this time. There were many rattled nerves in the classroom. The teachers went the extra mile to assure the kids.

While we all agree that this shouldn't have been necessary , this episode shouldn't even have occurred - its time to recognize the preparation that the school puts in to handle these events.


Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:58 am

@concernedgrandma - your comments may seem "justified" since this turned out to be a hoax. It could have been real .. then what ? I am glad the SWAT came out in full force and did no discount the threat. It was rattling for the students to see the SWAT guys ( they were peering through the classroom windows ) .. but if it was required, they were equipped.

Hope they catch the male who started all this. Hopefully the cell phone tracking technology / surveillance cameras aide the investigation in a speedy manner.


Posted by disheartened
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I'm extremely disheartened that the person responsible for this hoax is still at large. My heart goes out to the terrified parents that suffered so much that day and obviously there was a huge waste of resources utilized as well. It was my husband's phone that was stolen to place the threatening phone calls to Palo Alto High School. It was a very traumatic day for us as well with SWAT team members coming to check our house as well as my husband's place of work.


Posted by a student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 25, 2018 at 10:43 am

im glad it was a hoax and not real but whoever called in the hoax should be found and arrested.


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