Law enforcement declared campus ‘free of danger’
For the second time in three days, MVHS issued an emergency evacuation on September 23, following another email threatening campus safety.
An announcement aired at 10:41 a.m. during the tutorial, urging all students to take shelter in their fifth grade. Students without a fifth term were asked to wait at the student union until 11:15 a.m., when they were allowed to vacate.
Director Ben Clausnitzer said, “Safety is [the] Priority One” is again working with the Santa Clara County Police Department to conduct a criminal investigation via email, which he says will take some time but could lead to an IP address being found. Possible consequences could include if an individual is arrested or prosecuted.
According to Klausnitzer, each threat was sent from a different email account that was not recorded in the school’s records as a private or school email. The subject line of each email was identical and some of the content between the two emails was the same in terms of specifying a time later in the school day.
Regarding future threats, Klausnitzer said the administration will continue to conduct a comprehensive assessment of each threat.
“I think it will all depend on what kind of information we have at that time,” Clausnitzer said. “[We would continue to treat] seriously and [partner] With the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department for next steps.”
Still Junior Catherine Chen'[feels] Really nervous” about the situation, although the threat of the second bomb was less of a concern to her.
I was really worried and scared [during the first threat] Because obviously this is America, so it’s really common and something could happen, but I feel like it’s starting to get more normal now,” Chen said.
Clausnitzer sent another email at 2:07 p.m. notifying all students and staff that the campus had been searched and again “free of danger.” The email also asks anyone with “related information” to contact Klosnitzer or an adult at the school.
“Now is not the time to engage in rumors or conversations that might fall into stereotypes, prejudices or jokes that belittle this topic,” Klausnitzer said. “This effect on others in our community can be negative, which is not what we are looking for as a school community. We want to be able to move forward in the way our students are.” [and] Our employees feel safe.”
In response to an anonymous bomb threat sent to several employees, MVHS announced an emergency evacuation on the morning of Wednesday, September 21.
Principal Ben Clausnitzer announced immediate shelter at 9:06 a.m. via the school’s intercom. At 9:20 a.m., a formal notice of eviction was sent and students were directed to leave the campus under the supervision of teachers and staff. Students without transportation have been advised to gather at the softball court near the entrance to the Fort Baker gate to wait for their vehicles to arrive. Shortly thereafter, students at Lincoln Elementary School were also evacuated after a shelter in place.
According to Klausnitzer, the email threat was “general in nature” because it did not identify the location of the potential threat. His first action, though, was to call the mayor’s office to demand a safety sweep of “extreme caution.”
“I think people quickly realized we didn’t have an immediate threat,” Clausnitzer said. “And so on [we got] Everyone together to start talking. In the process, we decided [our] next steps.”
Safety combing involved sending in bomb-sniffing dogs, school resource officers and about 20 deputies from the Santa Clara County Police Department. Classroom doors were left open for searching, and law enforcement officers arrived to patrol the school’s front and back entrances.
“Our first priority remains the safety of our students and staff, and we sincerely appreciate the quick response [the] “The Santa Clara County Police Department this morning,” Klosnetzer said in an email to students and staff.
In preparation for future threats, Klausnitzer asked Assistant Principal Sidney Fernandez to review the school’s safety plans, specifically the process for reuniting students and families after emergencies.
“[Preparing] “It is important that schools think about true reunification,” Clausnitzer said. “[The] reunion process [would] usually [require] Student signature to leave with that parent and [the parent] must appear [their] Identification card. This process can take a long time.”
After the research, the site was deemed “risk-free,” according to an email sent at 12:44 p.m., but the campus will remain closed for the rest of the day. School will resume on Thursday, September 22nd with the usual bell schedule.
Klosnitzer shared his thanks for the level of cooperation from all involved.
“I am really proud of the way the MVHS community is treating you [the situation and] “Partnership with our sheriff’s office,” Klausnitzer said. “Finally, we had the opportunity to honor our number one priority, which is the safety of staff and students.”