Rumor Of Violence At Sonora High Draws Law Enforcement Presence
Sonora, CA – The school week is winding down for a local high school after some unexpected drama.
Elevated law enforcement presence converged on the Sonora High campus ahead of the lunch hour after school officials requested assistance to address a concerning rumor that had begun circulating earlier in the morning.
“We were made aware of rumors circulating on social media that we could not track down exactly,” explains Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller. “In an abundance of caution, we felt it was necessary to let parents know that the rumors were circulating and also to ask for backup from local enforcement — to make sure that everybody felt secure and that the situation was handled in the safest way possible.”
Miller says the rumor hinted at some sort of a disturbance on the campus during lunchtime. “There was potentially going to be a fight or some sort of confrontation.” He emphasizes that it was not a threat from a potential shooter.
“These were rumors posted, reposted, tweeted and retweeted on social media about what people had heard that might happen as opposed to somebody actually threatening to do physical harm,” he explains. He adds dryly with all the enforcement presence onsite, “I am quite sure we were the most secure place in Tuolumne County during all of the lunchtime.”
Sonora Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Curtis Hankins shares that an officer is still investigating and has so far done some searches on campus and talked with several students. “So far, we have determined no credible threat.”
Verbal Rumor Goes Viral
He reports that a rumor started verbally about a weapon possibly being involved in a fight. “We couldn’t find out who started it.” Once the buzz started, he says the students started texting each other and their parents, which generated concerned phone calls back to the school’s administrative office.
Hankins credits school officials for quickly issuing an emergency text announcement to all the parents and students, warning of a circulating rumor involving possible violence and that law enforcement and extra security would be onsite to ensure students’ safety.
“We requested help from the sheriff’s office and CHP just until we could figure out what was going on, and law enforcement presence is remaining for the rest of the day,” Hankins continues, noting there was no special protocol in place for students during the lunch hour. “The kids are safe…we feel there was no need to lockdown or miss any school.”
Acknowledging a line of parents in vehicles outside the school before lunch, Hankins says he had no problem with their decision to sign their kids out of school for the rest of the day. “If it was my kids, better safe than sorry,” he remarks.
He adds that local enforcement agencies regularly train together to better respond to these kinds of incidents and the Sonora PD recently held such a session with Sonora CHP. Even without SWAT vehicles on the scene during lower-level potential threat instances Hankins shares, “All of our units carry the necessary tools with them so if there was anything to react to, we would have them in our vehicles.