By Clarion Editors (Cynthia Dominguez, Christopher Wong, Saeri Plagmann, and Aryanna Zavala-Cortez)
On March 13, 2018, an unidentified person allegedly threatened the John F. Kennedy High School campus, targeting one or more unnamed students. With such an alleged threat made, school administration sent out an email to JFK parents and students. The email described the threat as ongoing, and under investigation by two seperate law enforcement agencies. Parents and students were reassured that not only would police presence be increased on campus, but the alleged threats would be handled by school and law enforcement with urgency.
Despite the formal email being sent at roughly 9:47 p.m., the student body became aware of these threats before any official statement was made. The earliest reports of warnings that a shooting was threatened against Kennedy were received by at least two students in a group chat at 7 p.m. The warnings reportedly came from the student targeted by the threats.
Several students were first warned about the potential shooting at around 8:30 p.m. Later in the night, a Snapchat post began circulating which depicted a picture of a phone screen showing text threats along with a short statement written by a student advising their peers to stay safe. The time stamp on the photo read 8:41 p.m. although students reported receiving the image later in the night, around 10:01 p.m.
The threats made extended beyond the Kennedy campus; California Middle School parents received calls minutes before March 14th. The call notified Cal Middle School parents of the alleged threats, as the Kennedy student originally targeted has a sibling attending Cal Middle School, and both schools are said to be working with the Sacramento Police Department to ensure the safety of students.
With the recent surge of school shootings in the United States in 2018, the alleged threats caused a panic among JFK students and parents. Many students are strongly considering staying home March 14 due to both parent advice and concern for their own safety. The student protest in memory of the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting planned for March 14 has not been cancelled or impacted by these alleged threats.
Kennedy parents panicked last night as some posted to Nextdoor, a neighborhood social media service, looking for answers.
“I would like to know why we weren’t notified of this earlier,” began parent Paula Gardner. Phone calls home were not sent until past 11 p.m. last night. Gardner’s post claimed that the police department questioned her son.
Angela Wood, lead for the Pocket neighborhood, acknowledged that finding truthful information is important in situations such as the shooting threat, “They cannot just put out information based on rumor and innuendo. Getting correct information takes time.” If many parents are worried for their children’s safety, attendance may drop, costing the school funding. “I understand everyone’s frustration, but I would rather get the correct information than some random nonsense just in the effort of who can put it out the fastest.”