Escondido schools reopen after online threats

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Four affiliated Escondido charter schools that closed down for one day last week in response to an online shooting threat reopened Tuesday amid heightened security, authorities said Monday.

American Heritage Charter High SchoolPolice and administrators with Heritage K-8 Charter School, Heritage Digital Academy Middle School, Heritage Digital Academy High School and Escondido Charter High School sought to reassure concerned parents and students during a special meeting held at the latter campus Monday afternoon.

Authorities do not believe there will be any out-of-the-ordinary safety concerns at the schools following the three-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Escondido Police Department Lt. Neal Griffin told reporters.

An unidentified person posted the threat on a social media site Thursday evening, claiming that the high school would come under “a barrage of bullets” the next morning, after which the assailant supposedly would commit suicide.

The message included the statement, “You’ll see me on the news,” according to Dennis Snyder, executive director of the schools.

Several people alerted police to the statements, Griffin said. Investigators notified the American Heritage schools and treated the online rant as a credible threat.

Though investigators soon traced the message to a student of another school, they determined that the youth was not the responsible party, but rather “a victim of a very malicious personal attack of identity theft,” Griffin said last week.

The perpetrator remained at large as of Tuesday, though police were confident that they ultimately would identify and track him or her down, according to Griffin.

Snyder, a teacher and former football coach in the Escondido Union High School District, founded the East Valley Parkway schools in 1996. They have a combined enrollment of about 1,700.

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