NewsLocal News


Santa Maria police investigate and debunk school threat shared on social media

school threat
Posted at 6:36 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 22:44:35-04

Friday morning, multiple law enforcement agencies issued statements regarding a non-credible school threat that made the rounds on social media.

In the post from social media, an anonymous person claims they will be taking weapons to school on September 15 and opening fire.

“We immediately jumped on and started trying to figure out where the initial threat came from,” said Sgt. Felix Diaz, Santa Maria Police Department.

While the post did not mention a particular location, nor a local school where the threat was intended, its circulation on social media was enough to raise concerns in Santa Maria. 

“It is very alarming, especially if you know or have someone who attends these schools,” said Eden Garcia, who graduated from Pioneer Valley High School this past year. “Even if it is just a threat, you want to treat it as if it is serious.”

Sgt. Diaz says since the post was shared on social media just hours before school started Friday, the department looked further into the matter and determined the post was not credible and was originally posted by someone out of San Antonio, Texas.

“We evaluate these as they come in by again, tracking down where it came from. If it is somebody local, we immediately jump on locating where they are in the city to make contact with them to see if there is any sort of credible threat,” Sgt. Diaz told KSBY. “So, really, it is just dependent on the threats.”

Just a few months ago, Garcia and her classmates went on lockdown after a firearm was recovered on campus. That is why she feels any threat on social media should be investigated thoroughly.

“My little brother goes here, so it is scary to think, 'Oh my God, I don’t want anything to happen to him, or to the other students who go here that I know.' It put me at ease knowing they are no longer in danger of this happening, but you still think, 'What if it was true?”’ Garcia said.

While this most recent social media threat was found to be uncredible, Sgt. Diaz says it is a good reminder for parents to be aware of what their children are viewing and posting online.

“Just be vigilant of your children’s social media. If they see something, teaching them to say something if they see a kid making any sort of threats on social media toward their schools or things of that nature,” Diaz advised. “We have to work as a community to put a quash to these threats as soon as possible and make sure nobody gets hurt.”

Friday morning, the Paso Robles Police Department also released a statement debunking the social media threat, recommending people in the community report such posts to law enforcement instead of continuing to share them online.