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How BVH should have responded to the shooter threats

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How BVH should have responded to the shooter threats

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On April 9, two school-shooting threats were made against Bonita Vista High School and management underwent questionable decisions. Here is how BVH’s administration should have responded.   

Quote:

“After working closely with Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) they are able to confirm that this threat is unsubstantiated and school will continue as normal on Monday,” an email sent from Bonita Vista High School Administration on April 7 said.

Response:

BVH managements’ biggest mistake was resuming school without an official statement from the CVPD. The CVPD did not release a statement until Tues. April 9. The near-empty classrooms and abandoned halls were clear indicators of this failure, as an estimated 2182 students were absent on Monday, April 8 according to Attendance Technician Michelle Adame.

Moreover, the identity of the individual who made the first threat was “not yet known” according to an official statement by the CVPD on April 9. This means a potential shooter had not been apprehended by law enforcement and still had the ability to come onto school.

The solution would have been simple: cancel school.

Because of Form J-13A of the California Department of Education, had school been cancelled in response to “emergency,” BVH would have no fiscal penalty. This form would legally cancel school, protecting the safety of BVH students and avoiding the cost of $51 per absent student on Monday, April 8.

If an armed threat is seen as an emergency, cancelling school through J-13A forms are the solution.

Quote:

“[Bonita Vista High School] will have additional law enforcement on campus as a precaution,” an email sent from Bonita Vista High School Administration on April 7 said.

Response:

Although the additional officers on campus could potentially neutralize armed threats to the BVH student body, there are immediate problems with the SUHSD’s response.

It should be expected that officers remain on campus until all threats are given an an-clear. However, the presence of law enforcement has become nearly non-existent on campus, despite the identity of the original threat remains unknown.

Students are left to assume that officers possess awareness across the entire campus. But because officers were not stationed in tactical perspectives such as the rooves, where students can be easily observed, it is hard to believe that this was a sufficient precautionary measure.

Following through with the previously mentioned J-13A forms to cancel school, threats would have been made non-existent as students would have remained safe at home.

Additionally, requiring School Resource Officers to be present on campus everyday enables them to respond to immediate, on-site threats. Currently, School Resource Officers are assigned to multiple schools throughout the SUHSD meaning that in the instance of an emergency, there would be a delay in their ability to respond. If stationed on campus, SROs would be able to quickly notify the police in the case of emergency.

In fact, think tank Urban Institute finds up to an 40 percent of high schools in California have an officer on campus. This finding is alarming, and should be a wake-up call for BVH to have an on-duty police officer on campus at all times.

Quote:

“On April 9, 2019, after a detailed investigation by Chula Vista Police with significant assistance from the Sweetwater Union High School District, officials detained a 16 year old juvenile for making a social media threat against Bonita Vista High School” an update released by the CVPD on April 9 said.

Response

The CVPD deserves credit for locating and detaining a potential shooter.  

However, it remains a concern that the identity of the individual who made the first threat is unknown.

It is frankly appalling to see the CVPD initially referring to this crime as a “social media threat.”

Although the release later referred to the situation as a “criminal threat,” the seriousness of this issue should remain consistent. Instead, the police should have referred to the statements as an “active shooter threat” or continue using the phrase “criminal threat”. Putting students’ lives at risk should not be reduced to a cluster of words posted to Instagram. It is a pressing matter that deserves formal attention.

About the Writer
Joseph Perez, Staff Writer

I am a junior for the 2018-2019 Bonita Vista High School’s Crusader publication. It is my second year on staff and journalism to me, means much more...

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How BVH should have responded to the shooter threats