Schools, Police Look to Protect Students
Last Sunday, police in Tacoma, Wash., arrested a 15-year-old boy they suspected of making threats on social media toward people at Lincoln High School there. News of this arrest spread across social media and fed a rumor that Alameda’s Lincoln Middle School faced a threat. In light of the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Alameda Police Department (APD) and the school district launched an investigation.
“We learned from our investigation that there was not a threat to Lincoln Middle School or any school in Alameda,” stated APD Chief Paul Rolleri in a joint statement released by the city and school district. “Social media posts related to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., spread locally and caused many people in our community to feel uncomfortable and afraid.”
In the joint statement Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) also provided a link to a post that dates to Jan. 26, 2016, but continues to appear in online searches that involve schools named for our 16th president. “This is an announcement for all Lincoln students. You are all in danger if you come to school tomorrow,” the two-year-old message reads. “I will be coming to the school with a handgun in my backpack ready to shoot (a) black person as well as any whites that try (to) stop me.”
“We urge Alamedans to work with the school district and police department directly before posting on social media or contacting the press,” stated AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge.
In a separate incident, an Alameda High School student reported graffiti on a school wall threatening violent action against the school on Tuesday, Feb. 27. “Administrators immediately contacted APD, and officers began interviewing several student witnesses. So far, APD has not been able to ascertain who created the graffiti or what their intentions were,” AUSD stated on its website.