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UPDATE: Rumored gun on campus fails to materialize

No credible threat in West Ranch High School social media rumor, spokesman says

Posted: May 6, 2013 9:43 a.m.
Updated: May 6, 2013 7:37 p.m.

Sgt. Dan Stanley of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station monitors the front gate as students are dismissed at West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch on Monday. (Jonathan Pobre/The Signal)


A social media rumor about a gun on the West Ranch High School campus touched off a flurry of weekend meetings and prompted a heightened Sheriff’s Department presence Monday.

No weapon was found on campus Monday, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials said.

“At this time we have no credible threat,” Deputy Josh Dubin said.

“On Friday there was some type of verbal altercation on campus between students,” Dubin said. “After that verbal altercation there were some postings on social media, rumor regarding a firearm on campus on Monday.”

Sheriff’s Department officials met with William S. Hart Union High School District officials during the weekend, he said. A notice about the situation was sent home to parents by the Hart district.

While the situation was under investigation, there was no indication the report of a weapon was anything more than a social media rumor gone viral, Dubin said. No crime was known to have been committed, he added.
About 10:30 a.m. Monday, another notice was sent out to parents.

“After a weekend of extensive interviews by the Sheriff’s Department followed up by our own investigation at West Ranch, I can now inform you that the threat outlined on social media last week was the result of a conversation that was overheard by a ninth-grader and then passed on to another ninth-grade classmate,” West Ranch Principal Bob Vincent said. “From there it ended up on social media.”

The message urged parents to take their students to school for the second half of the day, even if they kept them home in the morning.

District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said some students did miss class Monday, possibly due to the rumor, but the exact number was not available.

Dubin said the Sheriff’s Department will continue its heightened presence at the campus throughout the week.

In addition to the school resources deputy stationed at West Ranch, members of the Sheriff’s Department “J Team,” which deals with juvenile issues, was on the campus Monday and patrol deputies were alerted, he said.

“Some of these social media postings link back to students at the school.” he said of the gun rumor. “Those people have been contacted and they’re cooperating.”

Vincent’s Monday note urged parents to “review the power of social media with our children and how conversations overheard and then passed on as fact may not always be accurate.”






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