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Parents: schools didn't notify us early when there were reports of potential school threats

Posted at 7:04 PM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 16:30:13-05

Many parents did not send their kids to school Monday, scared away by a string of recent reports of potential school threats.

At least five potential school threats were investigated last week alone, but parents say they were the last to know.

Last Thursday, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office said it investigated a possible threat against Templeton High School made by a student, but found it not credible.

One parent said she got an email around 8 p.m. Thursday from the Templeton Unified School District saying a potential threat happened earlier that day.

“Don't just send me an email and expect that I am going to check it and then 12 hours later send a voicemail saying 'hey, good job to the community for what you have done.’ No...that's my kid,” said Diane Pipoly, a Templeton High School mom.

Pipoly said neither the email nor the voicemail from the superintendent Friday morning prepared students to see a heavy police presence on campus.

In a statement to KSBY, district officials said they found out about the potential threat near the end of the school day Thursday saying ..”in order not to compromise [sheriff’s] investigation and to ensure we were providing accurate information to our families, the district waited for a determination from law enforcement before sending our message."

Officials say they looked into similar reports of possible threats at

  • Los Osos Middle School (November 12th)
  • Flamson Middle School (November 14th)
  • Orcutt Junior High School (November 15th)
  • Arroyo Grande High School (November 15th)

All the threats in those cases were found not credible, except for one.

Police arrested a 17-year-old boy into custody over the weekend for reportedly threatening Arroyo Grande High School in a social media post.

  • Some parents said they felt safer keeping their kids home.

“What happened down in Santa Clarita was still fresh in everyone’s mind,” said Pipoly. “There needs to be a different system put in place so we as parents know what's happening."

A spokesperson for the Lucia Mar Unified School District told KSBY several hundred kids were absent from Arroyo Grande High School on Monday.

All school officials we talked to said they followed protocol when responding to potential threats and took school safety seriously.

As for the incident at Orcutt Junior High, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says it was a joke that was "made with poor judgment." No arrests were made.

The threat against Los Osos Middle School was described as being "generalized"and not directed in any way toward a specific person. No arrests have been made.

KSBY reached out to the other corresponding school districts and law enforcement agencies and each one either declined our request for an on camera interview or said they did not have time.

If you are a parent, and did not get notified, school administrators say sometimes emails end up in the spam folder.

Lucia Mar Unified School District says parents can download its app to receive push alerts in the future.