PORT ORCHARD, Wash. –Police arrested a student Tuesday in connection with an online threat that sent South Kitsap High School into lockdown.
It’s the third time the school has dealt with threats in recent weeks and parents say they are tired of the drama and want more to be done to keep this from happening again.
“It’s got to end,” said grandmother Donna Zaccagnini.
Zaccagnini says she saw the threat online.
Police say the image, passed around via Snapchat, showed a gun and warned people not to come to campus on Tuesday.
By afternoon, police say they arrested a student in connection with the threat – and say it may have been part of a class project.
“There was a school project that some students were working on that basically identified a situation of ‘see something, say something,’” said Port Orchard Police Chief Geoffrey Marti. “And possibly some of this material leaked out through social media. And, of course, we have no choice at that point (but) to respond.”
“She’s afraid to come to school now,” Zaccagnini said of her granddaughter.
Zaccagnini says her family may pull her granddaughter out of classes and homeschool her instead.
Tuesday’s incident is the third threat in about a month that disrupted classes and sent the Port Orchard community into chaos.
“It’s not just my granddaughter that I have concern for of being safe, it’s every one of those kids in there,” she said.
But district officials insist their schools are safe – and administrators and police move quickly when a threat is discovered.
The district superintendent says Tuesday’s arrest is proof they take each and every threat seriously.
“Being able to identify who the individuals were that caused it will send a message that we mean business,” said Kars Brandsma. “It’s not appropriate to put others at risk and there are consequence for their actions.”
Zaccagnini blames social media for making it almost too easy to make threats, whether they are real or just pranks.
The grandmother says more must be done to keep threats from becoming commonplace.
“The nature of it is revolting, it makes me sick,” she said.
School officials also say it now has two new additional school resource officers working across the district to help keep kids safe.
Plus, there is a safety tip line on the district's website where people can share anonymous messages dealing with threats, bullying, vandalism and other issues.