Alleged threats on social media endangering the safety of students at Pitman High School were found to be uncreditable by both the Turlock Unified School District and Turlock Police Department Thursday, however, they still had an effect on attendance as parents opted to keep their kids home from school.
“We take all threats of this nature seriously,” wrote TUSD Superintendent Dana Salles Trevethan on Thursday. “Any student who threatens the well-being of other students and/or staff at any school site, even if it is intended to be a joke or not, cause actual harm and will be immediately removed from school as transpired on Monday.”
According to TUSD, a social media post allegedly made a threat to the safety of Pitman this past weekend and again on Wednesday. On Thursday, TUSD and TPD confirmed that there was no credibility behind the threat. TPD added that even after it was found to be uncreditable, rumors continued to circulate on campus and on social media, which exasperated the issue.
“We are working collaboratively with TPD to address the spread of ongoing rumors and to follow-up on any additional and credible threats if made,” wrote Trevethan. “School Messenger communications, as well as Facebook posts from PHS and TPD, will continue as necessary as well.”
While the threat was deemed not credible and students were encouraged to attend school Thursday, a number of parents posted on Facebook that they were keeping their kids at home.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable with that answer,” wrote parent Heather Michelle on Facebook. “There were new posts last night, and I’m not willing to accept the answer that it was rumors and there is no credibility. They will be staying home until this is resolved!”
Another parent Brian Koehmstedt sent an email to TUSD Thursday urging administration to release more information regarding the investigation, including details about the actual threat and what was done to the student or students in question.
“As one can imagine, many rumors have circulated amongst the students and much of it is probably false,” wrote Koehmstedt. “I appreciate the Superintendent posting publicly on the web site and the automated voice messages going out, however I find the information in these communications to be lacking and unsatisfactory in this situation. They lack enough facts for parents to determine whether enough has been done and whether their children are actually safe.”
In response, Trevethan emphasized that there was no credible threat to the Pitman community and that TUSD is working collaboratively with TPD to address the spread of ongoing rumors and to follow-up on any additional and credible threats if made. She added that School Messenger communications, as well as Facebook posts from Pitman and TPD, will continue as necessary.