4 schools cancel classes due to threat

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Four Escondido charter schools canceled all classes Friday as a precaution in response to an online threat about a planned shooting at one of the campuses.

American Heritage Charter High SchoolAdministrators at the American Heritage schools — Heritage K-8 Charter, Escondido Charter High School, Heritage Digital Academy Middle School and Heritage Digital Academy High School — announced the single-day shutdowns on their joint website, saying they wanted “students and staff to be safe.”

Dennis Snyder, executive director of the schools, described the threat to reporters.

“(Staffers) saw posted that … at 10:30 (a.m.) `Escondido Charter High School is going to be shot up; `I’m going to kill myself,’ or `commit suicide,’ along those lines, (and) `You’ll see me on the news,”’ Snyder said.

On Thursday afternoon, several callers alerted police to the menacing statements, which were posted on a social-media website, Lt. Neal Griffin said. Investigators notified the schools and were treating the hostile statements as a credible threat.

There were no arrests in the case as of late this morning, the lieutenant said.

School officials said classes would resume Tuesday, following the three- day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

The four campuses in the 1800 block of East Valley Parkway have a combined enrollment of about 1,700.

Snyder, a teacher and former football coach in the Escondido Union High School District, founded the schools in 1996.

4 comments

  • Guest

    You might want to check with public school employees, they hate charter schools, children and their parents love charter schools. The only way children can get into a charter school is through lottery tells you a little about the contempt people have for the public school system.

  • Charter_Parent

    We love Escondido Charter High school. The Director has been in touch via email with parents today keeping us all informed. We just received this email from him:

    Dear Parent,

    On Thursday evening January 16, the Escondido Police Department shared information with the school administration that a credible threat of violence against the school was posted on a social media site. Because the police department had yet to confirm the nature and extent of the threat, school administrators felt precautionary measures needed to be taken to ensure student and faculty safety. Therefore, school was closed today.

    On Friday, January 17, the Escondido Police Department informed the school administration that an investigation is currently underway, and the immediate threat to both students and faculty has been addressed. Because student and faculty safety is no longer an issue, school for Escondido Charter High School, Heritage K-8 Charter School, and the Heritage Digital Academies will resume on Tuesday, January 21.

    Being that parents may have questions and concerns about their child returning to school, the administration will hold a parent meeting on Monday, January 20, at 4:00 p.m. in the American Spirit Theater located at 1868 East Valley Parkway. Parents from Escondido Charter High School, Heritage K-8 Charter School, and the Heritage Digital Academies are welcome to attend. The meeting will include a brief overview of the incident, a report by a representative from the Escondido Police Department, and a question and answer session.

    I would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents that the safety and well-being of our students and employees is our highest priority. All of our schools have detailed school safety plans that are designed to minimize student risk in the event that a dangerous situation takes place on campus. Moreover, school personnel conduct regular emergency drills which enable students and faculty to take important steps to ensure preparedness.

    That being said, the administration plans to take the following steps to ensure students and faculty remain safe: (1) increase the vigilance and supervision by school personnel, (2) partner with the Escondido Police Department to thoroughly review the school's safety plan, and (3) upon completion of this review immediately implement recommended changes to bolster campus safety.

    Another concern your family may have is helping your student deal with the stress or anxiety that may result from this incident. School personnel will be available to address student concerns, provide counseling, and provide additional resources if needed.

    If you have questions or concerns, please call me directly at (760) 737-3154.

    Sincerely,

    Shawn Roner

    Director, Traditional Classroom Program
    Escondido Charter High School

    I appreciate them keeping my child's safety as top priority.

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