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Sheriff: Threat at high school unfounded, evolved from verbal exchange between students

Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office
Posted at 8:47 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 00:42:39-04

UPDATE (3:25 p.m.) - Santa Barbara County Sheriff's officials say a reported threat at St. Joseph High School on Tuesday has been traced back to a conversation between students.

Deputies were dispatched to the school at about 7:20 a.m. after school administrators reported a possible threat they had learned about circulating on social media.

Just after 8 a.m., sheriff's officials say deputies contacted one of the involved students and quickly determined that they were not a danger.

Sheriff's officials say it turned out that a verbal exchange between two students was inaccurately relayed into a threat of violence on campus and there was no actual threat to the campus.

UPDATE (11:50 a.m.) - Nipomo High School and New Tech High School were also reportedly placed under a shelter-in-place while the social media threat at St. Joseph High School was under investigation.

According to a message sent to parents, Arroyo Grande High School was notified it may also go into a shelter-in-place, but after coordinating with police, it was determined there was no real threat and the campus continued with normal operations.

UPDATE (9:40 a.m.) - Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies are leaving the scene of St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria following an apparent social media threat.

School officials say the lockdown was lifted at around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

KSBY is working to get more information on exactly what the original social media threat was about.
UPDATE (9:10 a.m.) - Nearby Righetti High School, on E. Foster Rd., went into shelter in place at about 8:30 a.m., school officials say.

Righetti High School isn't the location of the direct threat.

School officials say they are cooperating with law enforcement.
(8:50 a.m.) Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies are on scene at St. Joseph High School after a social media threat was reported.

The high school is located on S. Bradley Rd. in Orcutt.

Sheriff's office public information officer Raquel Zick said on Twitter that there are numerous units on scene.

The investigation is ongoing, and officials say they expect the area will clear soon.

Officials didn't share any additional details on the threat.

Parents said in a social media post that classes had been canceled for the day.

KSBY was unable to reach high school administrators for comment.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.