Saturday, February 17 , 2018, 2:25 pm | Fair 66º


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Santa Maria Valley Student Arrested for Alleged Gun Threat Against Orcutt Academy

Orcutt Union School District officials say youth claims social media post was intended to be April Fool's joke

Messages posted to social media Sunday morning allegedly included threats against Orcutt Academy High School at 610 Pinal Ave. A juvenile arrested as a suspect in the incident claims the posts were part of an April Fool’s joke. Click to view larger
Messages posted to social media Sunday morning allegedly included threats against Orcutt Academy High School at 610 Pinal Ave. A juvenile arrested as a suspect in the incident claims the posts were part of an April Fool’s joke. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A Santa Maria Valley student had been arrested for a social media post allegedly threatening violence at Orcutt Academy High School, district officials said Sunday.

“Principal Rhett Carter was informed by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department that the student who posted the threat has been arrested, and that the student claims it was intended to be an April Fool’s joke,” Orcutt Union School District Superintendent Debbie Blow said in a Facebook post.

“Clearly, he is now learning that threat of violence is never treated as a joke by our school district or law enforcement.”

The juvenile allegedly posted two messages to one of his social media accounts, specifically Snapchat Stories, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

“Both postings included a figure holding a different firearm in each picture and threatened school violence,” she said.

The firearms later were determined to be fake, Hoover added.

Orcutt Academy staff notified the Sheriff’s Department at 7 a.m. Sunday about the social media posts.

Administrators from Orcutt Academy and Righetti High School helped sheriff’s deputies identify the suspect, who was located shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday and arrested due to the alleged threats made on social media.

The student does not attend Orcutt Academy High School, Blow said.

“At this time, and out of an abundance of caution, Principal Carter is working with law enforcement to sweep the campus to ensure safety,” she said.

Blow said classes will be in session Monday at the school at 610 Pinal Ave.

“I realize the post was deeply concerning and that staff and parents wanted an immediate update from OAHS administration,” she said. “Thank you for your patience and allowing our administration to gather the facts before providing an update.”

In addition to alerting the community on social media, district officials also notified parents via automated telephone calls Sunday.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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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