GRANDVIEW Four local teenagers were in custody yesterday after being arrested for allegedly threatening to shoot up Grandview High School last Friday.
Two of the four juvenile “conspirators” were being held on $15,000 bail after appearing in Yakima County Superior Court yesterday.
They are expected in court again Wednesday for a review of bail restrictions.
The status of the other two was unavailable at press time.
So far, school and police officials have declined to release the names of the four suspects’ names. They customarily hold back on juveniles.
School officials said the four allegedly plotted an attack on Grandview High School sometime this week.
Grandview Police Chief Kal Fuller was mum on the arrests.
But in a written statement released about 7 p.m. Sunday by the Grandview School District, he is quoted as saying residents don’t have anything to worry about.
“Although we still have follow-up to do, we do not believe there is any ongoing threat to anyone in the Grandview School District,” he said Sunday evening.
Officials said the students admitting to jokingly having a conversation about shooting up the school, noting the students allegedly refer to each other as “school shooter.”
Unconfirmed reports said police found a “map” of the school with question marks on classrooms.
School officials did not take the incident lightly.
“On Friday, Feb. 23, several students overheard a conversation that allegedly involved a threat toward Grandview High School,” the statement released Sunday by the district on social media said.
“Those students did the right thing and reported what they heard to school administrators, who contacted the district’s School Resource Officer and involved the Grandview Police Department.
“On Sunday, Feb. 25, the police obtained warrants for the suspected conspirators and they were arrested.”
The number of juveniles arrested was three late Sunday. On Monday morning, the fourth teenage was arrested.
According to district spokeswoman Elena Olmstead, all four were expelled.
“The Grandview School District would like to thank the Grandview Police Department and some very honorable students for helping keep our schools safe,” the social media posting said.
“The Grandview School District appreciates the relationship we have with the Grandview Police Department, and we want the community to know we take these matters seriously.
“We are all working together to ensure the safety of our students.”
The arrests in Grandview come less than two weeks after two students were expelled from the Prosser School District for threats Feb. 12 and 15.
The names of those expelled students were not released, either.
Yesterday, Prosser Detective Mark Cole said those two students were back in school.
They are also facing a harassment charge each in Benton County Juvenile Court, he said.
“They had no access to firearms,” Cole said.
On Feb. 12, police responded to Prosser High School, 1203 Prosser Ave., for a threat reportedly on social media.
“School staff wanted to report suspicious social media postings done by a student,” police said.
The responding officer was provided with screen shots of various postings from a student’s Instagram account.
One posting depicted a shotgun and stated: “Don’t go to school Monday.”
There was no school that Monday because of President’s Day.
Other postings contained inappropriate language regarding ethnic groups and sexual orientation, police said.
The student admitted to the posting, but like the Grandview students, said it was a joke.
The student denied plans for a school attack, police said.
Other Prosser students commenting on the posts said they thought the posts were funny.
On Feb. 15, also at Prosser High School, a high school girl implied a threat to “shoot up the school.”
The Grandview School District’s westerly neighbor, Sunnyside School District, has also requested a stepped-up police presence
on campuses in the wake of two recent incidents there.
One took place Feb. 8 and the other was reported on Monday, Feb. 19.
The first was non-specific, and written in a combination of styles, Police Cmdr. Scott Bailey said.
Bailey said investigators “found no substantive evidence that indicated that it (was) a viable threat.”
The second incident took place on President’s Day.
At about 10 p.m., police and Sunnyside High School personnel became inundated with calls and reports of a possible social media threat.
Bailey said it became clear rather quickly that it was a re-posting of a possible threat about month ago, investigated by the Fresno, Calif., Police Department, and an arrest was made.
“Based on the threat, and as the investigation was on-going, Sunnyside Police Department coordinated with Sunnyside School District to establish an increase in police presence at Sunnyside High School,” Bailey said.
Other school districts have dealt with threats or hoaxes this school year, too.
Earlier this school year, Grandview had a pair of threat-related lockdowns. Nearby, Wapato also had lockdowns after threats.
Sunnyside, Sunnyside Christian and Mabton have had lockdowns because of police pursuits of criminals in the area.