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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 7:12 am | Fair 43º


Alleged Threats Investigated At Santa Ynez Valley High School

Three students at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School have been suspended and may face addition discipline after they were overheard allegedly discussing participating in a future violent act at the campus.

The Wednesday incident led to a noticeable presence of law enforcement officers at the campus, Principal Mark Swanitz said in a message posted on the school’s website.

School officials contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department at 8:15 a.m. that a group of students had overhead others allegedly discussing participating in a future violent act at the school. 

“Because a few courageous students came forward to report their concerns, we were able to quickly and efficiently address the situation with the cooperation of Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department,” Swanitz said.

Sheriff’s deputies identified three students who were involved in the alleged threats. They were taken out of class within 30 minutes of when the incident was reported, spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. 

“The Sheriff’s Office conducted a thorough investigation and determined that while the allegations were concerning, there was no crime committed and the students in question did not have access to firearms,” Hoover said. “At no time was there an immediate threat to the school.”

The students’ names were not being released because they are minors.

“Appropriate disciplinary measures are being taken to ensure that Santa Ynez High School remains a safe, secure learning environment,” Swanitz said, adding he could not go into great detail about but encouraged anyone with concerns or questions to call.

District Superintendent Scott Cory said Monday the students have been suspended “pending determination of final disciplinary action.”

The school is now on winter break through Jan. 3.

Since there was not an imminent threat to school safety, the campus was never locked down and students’ safety was not at risk at any time during the investigation, Swanitz said.

“The Sheriff’s Office wants to applaud the students who heard something suspicious and reported it right away.  Their actions enabled school administrators and the Sheriff’s Office to take action and resolve the matter quickly and without disruption to the campus,” Hoover said.

“This case is also a great example of the importance of having a school resource deputy on campus who knows the students and is able to respond immediately when an incident occurs on campus.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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