At wit's end over threats
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Mar 22, 2013 | 6310 views | 28 28 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Parents, staff discuss threats
Amanda Lis gathers donations from the crowd of parents gathered at the Kimball High School gymnasium on Wednesday, March 20, to build a reward fund for information on who made two bomb threats at the campus. About 300 parents and district staff members met to discuss recent bomb threats at Kimball and Tracy high schools.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Amanda Lis passed around a bucket at the Kimball High gymnasium asking for donations during a Wednesday, March 20, meeting hosted by the Tracy Unified School District.

The parent of a Kimball High student said she is tired of the empty bomb threats that have plagued the school district since March 13, and she hoped to raise enough money to offer a reward to those providing information about the culprits.

“We need to stop and get these kids to tell on their friends,” Lis said.

She and more than 300 other parents attended the meeting called by district officials to discuss safety, school policy and efforts to stop those responsible for four recent bomb threats at Kimball and Tracy high schools.



Series of problems

According to the Kimball Principal Cheryl Domenichelli, the trouble began March 8 at Kimball, 3200 Jaguar Run, when a student discovered suspicious graffiti on a bathroom wall and notified school officials.

By March 11, the following Monday, rumors had spread that there could be a shooting planned for the campus.

On March 13, the first bomb threat was discovered on the walls of two bathrooms at Tracy High, and the school at 315 E. 11th St. was evacuated to nearby Lincoln Park around 2:05 p.m.

On March 14, Kimball High was evacuated to the football stadium bleachers just before 1:30 p.m. in response to a phone call warning there could be a bomb at the school.

Teachers and students staying after school at Tracy High the same day were forced from campus when another bomb threat was found written in a bathroom.

Students at Kimball were again evacuated to the football bleachers at about 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 18, because of a threat found in a boys locker room.

During each of the incidents, district officials said they used bomb sniffing-dogs from Modesto-based Kontraband Intradiction and Detection Services Inc.

Nothing was found on either campus.



Parental concerns

On Wednesday night, dozens of parents took turns at the microphone to address a panel of Kimball and TUSD officials.

Among the primary concerns voiced were the needs for a better emergency notification and release procedure and alternative evacuation sites at the Kimball campus.

Josie Nickelberry, who said she has daughters in 10th and 12th grades at Kimball, said she opposed the use of the adjacent football stadium for evacuations. She said the openness of the stadium made the students targets, and it seemed too close to the bomb threat reported on campus.

“You set these kids up for injury,” Nickelberry said.

Nickelberry’s evacuation concerns were echoed by numerous parents, a few of whom suggested having rotating locations if emergency evacuations occur within days of each other.

Earlier in the week, district spokeswoman Jessica Cardoza said, “There are a number of places students can be evacuated to on and off campus.”

She said officials were comfortable evacuating students to the same place twice in a row given the circumstances of the two threats at Kimball.

Another issue high on parents’ priority list was the release procedure used after families were notified to pick up students.

Numerous parents said they had to wait hours to get their children from the Kimball football stadium.

Melissa Faagogo, who was at the meeting with her mother, Lynda Oskoui, said officials refused to release her 10th-grade sister when she went to pick her up. Faagogo said she was told her name was not on the family’s emergency contact list, so she was forced to wait for the end of the school day.

Another woman said she had to go to four different release stations because she had children in four grades. She questioned why officials couldn’t have one master list or allow students who are 18 years old and older to leave with their siblings.



Next steps

Kimball Assistant Principal Dan Mahoney apologized to parents for the long pickup lines during the school’s evacuations.

He said the release process eventually moved six students a minute through the line during the Monday incident.

Mahoney also said school officials were updating the parent notification system to send emails, texts and phone calls instantaneously, making it faster and more comprehensive.

To deter future threats, Cardoza said Kimball officials will continue daily searches by bomb-sniffing dogs between 5 and 9 a.m., but wouldn’t say how long that policy would be in place. Several boys and girls bathrooms and locker rooms will also be closed to prevent student access without staff supervision, she said.

Also new to the oversight process is the creation of a community safety committee that will meet at 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month in the district office, 1875 W. Lowell Ave.

“They will discuss issues like this and policies and procedures,” Cardoza said.

To ease the minds of the students, she said the district has added two school psychologists to the Kimball staff.

A few parents asked what district officials would do if those responsible were caught by police.

“I’d hate to hear they get a slap on the wrist,” said Anthony Martinez, who has sons in the ninth and 12th grades at Kimball.

“They really need to prosecute these kids. Let the other kids realize and see what happened to them.”

Cardoza said the district is working closely with police officials to find those responsible.

Police arrested two Tracy High students on March 14. Those arrests were isolated to the threats that lead to the Tracy campus evacuation on March 13.

“We’re coordinating with police to determine who is the culprit or culprits,” she said. “We still have three bomb threats that we are investigating — two at Kimball and one at Tracy High School on March 14.”

Paul Hall, TUSD director of student services and curriculum, told the crowd making the threats was a crime punishable by imprisonment and expulsion from school.

“We take this seriously,” Hall said. “And we will get restitution. State law says parents are liable up to $100,000.”

In an effort to get students to speak openly about the incidents and who was responsible, Kimball officials created a reward, which was increased by $1,000 thanks to Lis’ efforts to collect contributions at the Wednesday meeting.

Cardoza said the money Lis raised will be added to a reward started by Mahoney, the assistant principal. It will be funneled through the school’s associate student body account, which is used for funds for events such as the school prom.

She said the final amount of the reward has yet to be determined.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
Comments
(28)
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backinblack
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March 26, 2013
Shelly, I get your point but I disagree. I also noticed you referenced a comment from a different section and referred to it as an interesting perspective which I also disagree with. Whoever made that comment either doesn't know the meaning of benign or doesn't know a bomb threat is by law a felony.

It seems I'm actually one of the few who get's it. So what if noboby died, the threat itself is a felony and possibly an act of terror. This is not my opinion, it is fact according to the law. People seem to be focused on no loss of life and no actual detonation but that is wayward thinking in my opinion. I go back to the immediate monetary and psychological impact, and the very real possibility of near and long term economic impact as a result of these so called benign bomb threats.

A terrorist act does not have to result in a loss of life, it does not have to result in a bomb going off. By the logic displayed by others commenting here threats against our financial system by some wonderkid hacker which could cause economic harm should be viewed as a prank, right? If the hacker uses those threats to achieve a certain goal, it's not an act of terror, right?

Wrong.

cont...

backinblack
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March 26, 2013
This is where you seem to be missing my point. All I'm trying to get accross is lets stop with the excuses and the cute little names. If the law dictates a convicted person deserves a certain designation then let's call them for what they are. Let's stop calling vandals taggers, let's stop saying good kids do bad things. That may be true to a certain extent but in my day good kids did not make bomb threats. Good kids to not rape, pillage, & plunder.

A mistake or error in judgment is one thing and we all make them even as adults, but committing a felony and what can possibly be legally proven as an act of terror does not qualify as either as far as I'm concerned.

We are not going to agree but I have enjoyed the discussion and will give you the last word on this particular matter. By the way, if I came across as judging you I sincerely aplogize as that was not my intent, you are actually one of only a handful of people on this website I respect.
justabrain
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March 26, 2013
That is right on the money. Someone said it is a felony. Bingo! Some people are saying this is the same thing as calling Rustys and asking for Al Kaholic. BIG difference. One is a prank and the other will result in a felony conviction. I wish parents would grow up. It scares me most just knowing that parents are not any smarter than their teenagers.
shelly13
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March 27, 2013
Yep we will have to agree to disagree. I believe it depends on the kid. I'm happy to call them felons, but not terrorists.

My main concern is really more for the original threat which was the writing on the wall. Who knows if that was a prank or a girl who is having issues. Bullying is a definite problem. Some kids can handle it while others cannot. Kids can be even more cruel these days than in the past. It is those who are being bullied and not getting the help they need or appropriate response from the school that I worry about. They may be the one to actually snap and do something bad. Now I will be happy to call bullys terrorists for sure. I hope if that author is hurting and wrote that out of sadness, anger and frustration, that she gets a positive resolution to her issue.
mrmnfallacy
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March 26, 2013
@shelly13, there are many criminals doing 25 to life for stealing candy bars after they were tried and convicted for prior felonies in the state of CA. You are likely familiar with our three strikes law which helps ensure that career criminal clowns who just can't seem to follow the rules, remain locked up for life after two convictions for prior felonies. Voters, like ourselves, recently reiterated their support for this last November. Stealing a candy bar and domestic terrorism are both crimes, the later much more horrible than the former. However, both are crimes. As parents, we are responsible to teach kids right from wrong, remain lawful, and follow the rules. For those that can't, perhaps they could consider finding another hobby other than baby making
shelly13
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March 26, 2013
Im sure the candy bar scenario you stated has not happened because three strikes are for felonies only. Stealing a candy bar would be a misdemeanor.

I can still see that neither of you get my point. I brought up valis points using some common sense but common sense is not common anymore. Each case needs to be scrutinized individually and punishment accordingly. backinblack you seem to judge me for being soft yet you say nothing against mrmn for the abortion comment. Im a bit disappointed:)
shelly13
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March 26, 2013
I was just thinking backinblack...so in your world you would put a kid who steals a candy bar at the grocery store in the same boat as someone like Bernard Madoff? I mean stealing is stealing right? The meaning is : to take the property of another without right or permission. So the hard truth would be about 150 years. Don't want to sugar coat it:) That sounds ridiculous, right?
backinblack
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March 26, 2013
Shelly, if the kid stealing the candy bar were convicted of theft, and Bernie Madoff were convicted of theft in the same legal vein, then in my world they are both thieves, no difference.

However, for your example Madoff is not a good person to reference against the kid stealing a candy bar. Stealing is also not comparable to an act of terror. To wit:

Stealing a candy bar would be petty theft/a misdemeanor, what Madoff did involved fraud and was a felony. Therefor, while both the kid stealing the candy bar and Madoff in my book are both thieves, legally one is a felon while the other is not so there's a distinct difference.

Also, to the best of my knowledge there are not different legal levels of terrorism other than a threat as oppossed to an actual act, someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

If you want to go beyond what people are as dictated by a conviction then that's fine and I won't argue the reasoning for doing so, but at the end of the day, there are what they're convicted of.

backinblack
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March 26, 2013
me-here, I think you misread or misunderstood Shelly's comment. I'll let Shelly be the judge but she's saying:

People from the Bay Area bought in Mountain House when prices were dirt cheap, stop.

Tracy's growth had stopped due to Measure A, stop.

I'm not saying her assertion is right or wrong but she did not attribute lower house prices in Tracy or Mountain House to Measure A.
shelly13
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March 26, 2013
Yes. Many people bought in Mtn House because Tracy was not building new homes any more. This was due to measure A. I do not believe Measure A was responsible for a rise in home prices, the economy was the biggest factor. If you read the data of median home prices and the fluctuations in economy you will see the parallel.

Again, bad and good in every city. To say all the smart kids are from Mtn House is ignorant and discredits the many great kids from Tracy.
backinblack
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March 26, 2013
shelly, Noun 1. terrorist act - the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear

Now let's apply the definition to the bomb threats made in our little ole town.

Although not carried out a threat of violence was made

It beyond question can be reasoned it was calculated

The threat was against civilians

Although arguably in our case not political, religious, or idealogical in nature an act of terror is not limited to those three areas, so,

The elements of intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear to achieve a goal are present in at least one threat as according to a story on this website it was done to disrupt state mandated testing.

If the perpetrators are convicted of a terrorist act then they are terrorists, therefor I do not see a reason to seperate them from members of Al Qaeda.

cont......

backinblack
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March 26, 2013
I also believe you may be underestimating the harm which could come about from these felonies/terrorists acts. The immediate harm is easy to track, however, the stories about the threats are not limited to Tracy.

I believe it's reasonable to state we may suffer greater economic impact than what's easily visible at this point. When business owners or future homeowners read these stories it could impact their decision on moving to or out of Tracy. Home values could be impacted, exagerration on my part? Maybe, but I don't think it's too Chicken Littleish of me to have these concerns.
shelly13
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March 26, 2013
I totally get your concerns and agree with you on almost all parts. But sometimes good kids do stupid things. That does not mean they should not be held accountable in any way. It just means not all kids who do bad things are bad kids and for someone to assume that and to wish their parents had aborted them disgusts me.

So I say wait until they catch the kids and see what/who we are dealing with before passing judgement and wishing hateful and hurtful things.
shelly13
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March 26, 2013
Again, not that the kids who did this should not be punished. But here is another interesting perspective I copied form another page from a DTB:

Why even give something as benign as a "bomb threat" any consideration at all? Bombers don't threat, they detonate, in the hopes of maximum effect. (mass carnage) If the want to blow up an empty school, they would do it at night. They just blew up a bunch of suicide bombers today in Iraq. Gee, they didn't call ahead of time and warn anybody?? Golly !! No writing on any bathroom walls or anything like that??! What were they thinking? ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/22/iraq-bombings-baghdad-coordinated ) High School bomb threats are an unprepared students way of getting out of a test they are unprepared for. This particular one was obviously a copy-cat of the Tracy High event. (Kimble won't be denied, our losers are just as bad as yours) Yeah, I went and waited in line to pick up my nephew, Yeah, the line was long, Yeah, it took awhile, and Yeah, my nephew was laughing about the whole thing. When I was in High School, and some idiot pulled the fire alarm or called in a bomb threat, we all walked or drove home without any parental
backinblack
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March 26, 2013
shelly, Not to jump in between you and mrmnfallacy but I have to ask, are bomb threats pranks or felonies? You and many others have referred to the felonies/terrorists acts as pranks - yes you did also use felonies, Mendelson referred to the felons/terrorists as rascals - figures, but why don't we stick to the hard truth? These cute little names don't cut it and to me contribute to the regression of our society by sugar coating even the most heinous acts.

I call miscreants who spray grafitti vandals, a person like Mendelson refers to them as taggers or street artists. This kind of garbage needs to stop and criminals need to be shunned by our society and in a case like this where a felony and possibly legally provable act of terror occurred, prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Bottom line, let's stop with the soft hearted views of criminals. According to our law the perpetrators of the bomb threats are at least felons and at worst terrorists, period. There's no excuse for their acts and there's no other names by which they should be called. The parents? They are responsible for raising the felons/terrorists and should also be held liable and shunned by society.
shelly13
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March 26, 2013
Absolutley they are felonies. However I believe you must also look at intent. The intent was most likely the intent to pull off a prank, not to harm anyone. I believe that is different than someone who would actually carry the threat out. Having said that, they still did a lot of harm, just a different kind. They should pay for their crimes. Their parents should pay for their kids crime. But I reserve the name of terrorists more to the like of gang bangers and AlQaeda. Maybe prankster is too lenient. I'm not soft hearted on criminals, I can just distinguish between the different types. I dont put a kid who called in a bomb threat in the same ballpark as Bin Laden and for mrmn to say the parents should have aborted them is disgusting and inappropriate.
mrmnfallacy
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March 25, 2013
@shelly 13, you seem to be confusing domestic terrorism and bomb threats(both felonies)with traditional and harmless teenage pranks. As a responsible parent, there should be no confusion about the seriousness of what happened last week, and the consequences it had on the safety, welfare, and livelihood of hundreds of innocent kids and their parents, as well as countless faculty, law enforcement and emergency response team members. Stop excusing this type of selfish, disruptive, disrespectful, and reckless behavior from kids as something associated with kids just being kids. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I sense you come from a generation of folks that aren't old enough to remember corporal punishment in school classrooms when teachers and faculty were much more feared and respected by their students in the classroom for swift and deliberate bodily punishment for those who just couldn't seem to follow the rules
mrmnfallacy
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March 25, 2013
...nice going parents of the little clowns involved with these threats. Rest assured, they will be found, arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated for multiple felonies including making bomb threats and domestic terrorism to start with. Additionally, you parents will be financially responsible for the enormous costs associated with emergency response, law enforcement, and disruption of the school day. Perhaps you would have been better off having aborted the little felons you raised rather than having to deal with the enormous consequences of your failure to raise kids to remain lawful, respect others, and follow the rules.
shelly13
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March 25, 2013
Aborted? Wow thats harsh and a downright disgusting comment about people you know nothing about. I could see someone saying that about a person like charles manson or hitler but kids who wrote or called in a prank? Be it a very bad one, a felony of which they should receive full punishment. But your comment crossed the line.
shelly13
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March 25, 2013
Im soorry you dont seem to understand the point i was making. I believe i said that they should be punished. I know what problems they caused...i was there. My child was there. I in no way condone what they did. I think in their minds it was a prank. Teens always have done stupid things. It just happens that this stupid prank crossed the line into something much bigger. My point was regarding your abortion comment. That was also over the line and a very ignorant, pretentious thing to say.
shelly13
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March 22, 2013
Chris. Where do your kids go to school? There are both good and bad kids at all the schools. Luckily the good outweigh the bad. To say that the majority of the smarter or good kids come from mtn house is really ignorant, inflammatory and downright insulting. We get all kinds from both cities. In fact mtn house has its share of unsavories from the bay area who came over and bought there when the prices were dirt cheap and tracy's growth had stopped due to measure A. It will be nice when mtn house has its own high school. Then tusd can re zone the areas for the three high schools and alleviate some of the crowding. Oh wait i heard they are not going to redraw the boundaries. Thats tusd for ya.
me-here
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March 26, 2013
Shelly:

Your statement does not compute:

You say: "In fact mtn house has its share of unsavories from the bay area who came over and bought there when the prices were dirt cheap and tracy's growth had stopped due to measure A."

Dirt cheap houses due to Measure A limits?

Measure A helped house prices increase.
backinblack
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March 22, 2013
CR, I don't know about the ghetto/inbred part but morons definitely applies. By the way, as I keep trying to get across, let's stop referring to felons/terrorists as pranksters or as Mendelson in his little liberal way wrote, rascals.

Bomb threats are felonies, period. In the case of making a threat of violence to coerce a certain course of action out of a person or government terrorism charges may apply.

In the words of our inept president, let me be clear, the perpetrators of the bomb threats are either felons or terrorists, period, end of story. Let's start calling them what they are and stop with this prankster/rascal garbage.
ChrisRoberts
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March 22, 2013
This all started because some ghetto/inbred moron kids did not want to take a very easy state standardized test.

Considering many of these stupid kids will never set foot in a University (unless they are janitors), this snowballed prank does not surprise me.

And we all wonder why Mountain House parents want their own high school? Of course they don't want to send their kids to Kimball.

Wait till Mountain House has its own high school. Kimball High's API ranking is going to go down, down, DOWN.
hfacqe
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March 24, 2013
Have you seen the school boundary for Kimball? In consists of neighborhoods like Redbridge, Sterling Classics, Lawrence Ranch and West Gate. There isn’t much difference between those communities and Mountain House. You moron, how is that 1.8% property tax working out for you? You know it will actually increase 0.2% every year for the next 20 years.
crap1210
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March 22, 2013
It's pretty bad when someone has to walk around asking for donations to use as a reward. When the person behind this is found,and they will be found

should be tried as an adult. It's time to send a clear message to the student and to the parents who by the way should get a big bill for this.
walkingtall
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March 22, 2013
Time to take a look at the principle who by my estimations did a very poor job of handling the whole situation and went as far as lying. For someone in that position making the money that she makes, she should have a better handle on how to react to these situations. The other problem is that we live in a very left wing liberal state, so even if they found out who did this, some liberal judge would let the person or persons off easy saying something to the effect like " well there just kids, they didn't realize doing this was going to cause all of these problems." This is why we have problems we didn't have years ago, because

people that break law face very little in the way of punishment. Time to get tough on crime, and show these people there are stiff penalties to pay when you break the law. Sure hope they catch whoever did this act.
Tracygirlatheart
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March 22, 2013
Walking Tall - let's spin this Bomb Threat, blame the principal and take the focus away from the problem. Work can be done to resolve procedures. The REAL work needs to be done at home where parents need to counsel and teach children right from wrong, consequences for actions, respect.


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