By Kiara Kunnes, Print News Editor
// Amid the national conversation about violence in schools, Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) and other school districts throughout Contra Costa County received an email threatening a violent attack at their schools.
The AUHSD community and staff were notified of the threat in an email sent on Monday, April 9. According to the email sent out by AUHSD Superintendent John Nickerson, the district received the email threat at 11:00 a.m. that morning. While the email threatened an attack, the exact location and time were vague. However, the district took immediate action.
“Despite the lack of specificity, we notified principals and reported it to law enforcement as we take all threats very seriously,” Nickerson wrote in the email. “Several other school districts throughout the county and state received the same email yesterday and have been alerting others to this hoax, so we did have some advance notice.”
According to Acalanes Principal Travis Bell, there was never a concern that the email posed a threat to any schools in the district. Bell said the similarity of the writing in the email compared to the emails other districts received helped confirm this.
“Even down to weird little misspellings or leaving out words, the email was the exact same text sent, but it is talking like it is specific to a school,” Bell said.
The email sent out by the AUHSD also states that the threat they received is likely connected to threats that a group of hackers sent out to various schools in Europe. The threats are allegedly coming from an overseas gaming community that is generating a contest to evacuate schools in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to The Mercury News. One Bay Area school district, Emery Unified, decided to cancel classes after receiving the threatening email.
The San Francisco FBI was not able to confirm this theory to Blueprint since it is not taking interviews regarding the email threats at this time.
“The FBI is aware of and investigating threats being made to schools across the country. The FBI takes all threats seriously and is coordinating with local law enforcement and the affected school districts. All threats are thoroughly evaluated, with public safety in mind. The FBI is investigating the origin of the threats to determine their credibility,” the FBI’s National Press Office wrote in a statement.
Nickerson emphasized the importance of students’ safety to the district in the email as well.
“The safety of our students, staff, and schools is our top priority. We will remain on alert to look for anything out the ordinary,” Nickerson wrote. “We appreciate our staff and community’s continued vigilance in doing the same, and encourage you to report any concerns immediately.”