Poway students’ ‘hit lists’ sparks increased patrols at middle school

POWAY, Calif. -- School and law enforcement officials met with parents Monday morning outside Meadowbrook Middle School to answer questions and concerns on the first day of classes since two students at the Poway middle school were found to be carrying "hit lists'' containing the names of classmates and faculty.

In addition to sending a deputy to answer parents' questions along with Principal Miguel Carrillo, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department planned extra supervision at the campus and in the surrounding community as a precaution. The school also planned to make counselors available and heighten supervision by staff before, during and after the school day.

The so-called "hit lists'' were discovered Thursday and Friday, when students had a previously scheduled off-day, sheriff's Detective Jess Allensworth said. School administrators on Thursday reported the first list, found to be in possession of an eighth-grade boy and containing the names of students and faculty at the school but not any specific threats of violence.

The eighth-grader was taken into custody but later released to his parents when it was determined he had no weapons, sheriff's Detective Chris Allen said. As a precaution, everyone on the list was notified.

On Friday, sheriff's officials discovered a seventh-grader with a similar "hit list'' containing the names of six students, law enforcement and school officials said. That student was also detained for questioning and those on the list were notified.

"Authorities are meeting with the student and their family and are currently conducting an investigation, and we will be contacting families as needed,'' Carrillo said in an email to Meadowbrook families on Friday. "We are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement and will provide any additional information as necessary.''

Carrillo's email also said "law enforcement and administrators have procedures in place to safeguard our students, staff and the community related to these two incidents.''

The names of both students were withheld because they are minors.

Sheriff's detectives did not say how the lists were discovered, but Carrillo credited "students who courageously provided us information so that we are able to proactively address safety issues with urgency.''

Anyone with more information about either incident was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers' anonymous "Students Speaking Out'' hotline at 888-580-8477.