Sebastopol police are charging a 16-year-old male student at Analy High School with making criminal threats that resulted in the school closing early last Tuesday and students rapidly evacuating.
Police were not releasing the boy’s identity because he is a juvenile. Police said the boy admitted he was responsible for writing a message on a bathroom wall that said “Many will die Feb 27.”
The student was arrested “based on initial analysis of the involved handwriting, as well as other information,” a news media release from the police department said. The student was booked Wednesday at the Sonoma County Juvenile Detention Facility.
A message issued by Steven Kellner, superintendent of the West Sonoma County Union High School District, said “the student has expressed sincere remorse for the disruption caused and stated there was no intention of causing any harm to others.”
Police said the message was discovered about 8 a.m. Tuesday and that school and law enforcement officials discussed options for alerting students, staff and the community. Since the threat mentioned a specific date, but did not seem credible enough to warrant immediate school evacuation, authorities decided the best course of action was to release students at noon, about three hours before the school day usually ends.
“A decision (was) made in coordination with our administrative team, district superintendent, Sebastopol Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies out of an abundance of caution for our staff and students,” Kellner said. “References to any form of violence on the Analy High School campus are taken very seriously and are unacceptable.”
Although the police investigation did not find “any additional indication of a credible or imminent threat,” the department news release said “for the next few days, there will be increased police presence on campus.”