Threat against students investigation continues

The search is still underway for a high school student or students who posted a threatening list in a Sunnyside High School bathroom.

Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said this morning (Thursday) that additional police and security are in place at the high school.

"Teachers and security personnel are searching bags, lockers and cars," Cole said. "The investigation is following several leads."

Cole said yesterday he thought the investigation was nearly wrapped up, but this morning added that police may be investigating more than one student in the case.

"I'm very optimistic that they will be able to bring closure today," Cole said of the Sunnyside Police Department's investigation into the list. Police referred all comment on the case to the school district.

The list was found in a bathroom near the band room. Cole said hallway security tape footage shows normal student foot traffic on Monday, when the list would have been taken into the bathroom.

Because of the ongoing investigation, Cole declined to say whether the list expressed an intention to kill the more than one dozen students identified.

"It's a threat of violence, clearly," he said this morning. "We have zero tolerance for that."

The threatening list appears not to be related to gang activity and the students appearing on the list are not considered to be gang participants.

"The only thing in common (among those on the list) appears to be that a majority are ninth graders," Cole said.

Despite the threat, Cole said the high school is "very safe" because of the stepped up security.

Students seem to agree, as district officials reported that attendance was better than normal at the high school this morning, with well more than 90 percent of students in class.

A letter was sent home with all high school students yesterday describing the district's response to the list.

It also states that a $100 reward is being offered for any information that may lead to finding the person or persons responsible for writing the list.

Cole met yesterday afternoon with parents of those students whose names appear on the list to answer questions and concerns.

During the meeting, Cole re-affirmed that any student or students who created the threatening list will face "emergency expulsion" in addition to any criminal charges filed.

If the investigation is not wrapped up by Friday, Cole told parents that classes will continue along with the ramped up security.

If the list is a prank, Cole said those responsible need to step up right away.

"Those students need to come forward now and not let the time go on," he cautioned. "The more time goes on, the more serious this becomes and the more fear grows."


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