I am writing to share with you important information about an incident involving threats of violence to staff and students, and I am relieved to share that law enforcement confirmed this morning that a student alleged to make the threats has been safely apprehended.
Late yesterday, we began working closely with Mammoth Lakes Police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate alleged threats of violence to our students and staff that were made by a high school student in our district. The student is now being held and questioned by law enforcement, and I assure you that our district will continue to fully cooperate with this important investigation.
Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our students and staff, and the decision that I made to close schools today was guided by this profound obligation.
There are many details that I cannot discuss, as we do not want to compromise the investigation and law enforcement’s ability to act on facts and the law, but I will share with you what I can.
A student was overheard on several occasions to make threats of violence to students and staff at the school, and the district engaged law enforcement to investigate. Late yesterday, I was informed that law enforcement intended to apprehend the student this morning, before school began, and I made a decision to close school because we could not be completely certain that the student was not tipped off to the situation, and, thus might come to school.
I apologize that I could not offer the full facts regarding a red day, but law enforcement felt they needed the element of surprise in order to be certain they could secure the student and evidence that will inform their continued investigation. The student is not allowed on campus during this investigation.
Before returning staff and students to school, each campus will be examined by law enforcement to ensure safety. Tomorrow when we will return to school, please be assured that our dedicated staff will be prepared to welcome all students to a calm, focused day of learning.
As always, our education professionals are prepared to discuss with students important messages about safety and speaking up when and if they ever hear something concerning. Of course, we will be available to students who may want to discuss anxious feelings.
Below is a statement from MLPD Chief Al Davis:
From Chief Davis:
After learning about a credible threat of violence in the school, we worked with our Law Enforcement partners and the school district to develop a plan ensure the safety of everyone and complete a thorough investigation. There are many laws on how we can proceed with “threats.” Working closely with the Mono County DA, we obtained proper search and arrest warrants. With those in place, a plan was developed to ensure first the safety of the students first, next the officers and the suspect. After careful consideration, it was determined the safest action would be not to have school in session today. Despite no specific threats made for today's date, we were concerned that yesterday's investigation may encourage quicker action on the part of the suspect if, in fact, he planned to follow through with his statements. Working with the school district, we all decided to call a Red Day. The idea of a power outage was mine, as to not alert the suspect of pending police activity against him. Superintendent Klein was willing to put out this incorrect message to support our investigation. While to many, there may have been an inconvenience, however, we feel the safety of our students far exceeds any inconvenience.
Chief Al Davis
Mammoth Lakes Police Department
I am grateful to the law enforcement agencies for taking swift action to help ensure our safety. And again, I apologize for any inconvenience to you and your families due to the school closure, but I am confident that vigilant attention to staff and student safety must never be compromised.
If you have any questions, I can be reached at the number below.
Lois Klein, Superintendent
Mammoth Unified School District
PO Box 3509
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
760-934-6802 ext. 511