SIERRA VISTA — An elementary school was shut down for about half an hour Tuesday morning after several students wrote notes to the administration saying they felt unsafe because another child threatened to “shoot up the school,” Sierra Vista Police said.
The threat, according to police, had been issued on Snapchat by a sixth grader at Huachuca Mountain Elementary.
Four students reported the threat to the principal, police said. The Snapchat post stated that the youngster would pull a fire alarm and then start shooting up the school, police said. The child was identified and placed in an office and the school was locked down, said Sierra Vista Police Corporal Scott Borgstadt.
Sierra Vista spokesman Adam Curtis said the student would be “referred” for disruption of an educational facility. That means the child’s case will be referred to juvenile court, Curtis said.
Following the lockdown, police were called to the scene and officers interviewed the student in the principal’s office, Borgstadt said. The child’s mother was present, as well.
“The notes from the kids said another student said (they) would pull the fire alarm and shoot up the school,” Borgstadt said. “The administration then put the school on lockdown.”
In a post on their Facebook page, police said the student’s belongings were searched and no weapon was found.
Borgstadt said Huachuca Mountain Elementary’s training under ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) guidelines helped school officials and students react to the situation.
“Every Sierra Vista Unified School District school is ALICE certified, and the training really paid off today,” said Borgstadt. “The training is specific for staff and students in regards to direct threats in active shooter situations.”
By immediately reporting what they learned about a potential threat on campus, the students responded appropriately, Borgstadt said.
“The school followed protocol for this by calling for a lockdown, kids were kept in classrooms, lights were turned off and doors were locked and barricaded. I was happy with the school’s response.”
The school was locked down for roughly half and hour, Borgstadt said. Parents who heard about the incident arrived at the school to pick up their children.
Ana Castillo, whose two children attend the school, was one of them.
“I came to the school to drop off school supplies and saw it was on lockdown,” she said. “Then the police started showing up. I went to Facebook and saw what the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office put on their Facebook page about a student who possibly brought a gun to school.
“We just got an ‘all-clear’ from the office, so I’m glad everything is OK,” Castillo said.
Parent Jeanette Moreno also took her two daughters home.
“When I heard something was going on, I was concerned and came to the school to check on my kids,” she said. “As a parent, I’m happy to know that the school responded appropriately to the threat, but decided to take my two girls home with me because they were really scared.”