Is this a drill?
Roseville teen faces firearm charges over social media threat; campus warning system stumbles at American River College.
On the same day that 17 people died in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., reports of a bicyclist with a gun tucked into his waistband revealed concerning security vulnerabilities at American River College in Sacramento.
Administrators at the Foothill Farms community college ordered the campus into lockdown and sent text alerts to students and faculty through a mass notification mobile service platform called Rave Alert. There was just one problem:
The initial alert didn’t tell recipients where the potential danger was.
Luis Gael Jimenez, an ARC student and editor of American River Current, wasn’t on campus at the time of the February 14 incident, but received the Rave Alert that’s supposed to notify all students and faculty of emergencies.
“The first message sent out to students and faculty contained no specific information. It didn’t specify as to what area of campus was under lockdown,” said Jimenez, who has been a contributor to SN&R. “The message just said to ’avoid area xxx.’ They sent out another message about 10 minutes later that said to ’avoid the science department area.’”
No arrests were made, and no cameras were in the reported area. ARC currently relies on the Rave Alert system to notify students and faculty of an emergency situation instead of a campuswide alert system, such as a bell or alarm. Because many teachers prohibit students from using their cellphones during class, not everyone learned of the potential danger until it was already over.
In the wake of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, area schools are trying to assure students and parents that they are ready in the event of a mass shooting event.
Gun violence and school safety forums were held last week by Roseville Joint Union High School District and Sacramento City Unified School District. At the Roseville forum on March 7, district Superintendent Ron Severson said he intends to surround campuses with fencing and gates, install security cameras at each site and increase the frequency of lockdown drills.
Roseville high schools have experienced several scares in recent weeks.
The most credible involved a Granite Bay High graduate who allegedly threatened an Adelante High School student over social media. Trevor Joseph Marshall, 19, of Roseville was arrested March 5 at the Chipotle on Douglas Boulevard, where police found an AR-15-style weapon in his vehicle. Three days later, Marshall was arraigned in Placer Superior Court on multiple felony firearm charges, as well as a felony count of making criminal threats. The Roseville Joint Union High School District has also requested a restraining order against Marshall, online court records show.
On February 27, Granite Bay High School went into lockdown for three hours after a handwritten note threatening to shoot up the school was found in a bathroom.
One week prior to the Parkland shooting, Oakmont High School went on lockdown after several students indicated to faculty members that another student had shown them a firearm. The student was promptly arrested. After the investigation, police officers determined the student intended on selling the firearm to another student.
Two unconnected arrests were made this month following school-related threats against Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom and River City High School in West Sacramento. Harper Junior High School in Davis nearly closed due to a shooting threat, which was later deemed a prank by a male student.
Last month, Sacramento police announced they had investigated and debunked multiple social media posts warning of violence at McClatchy High School.
Michelle Aguiar, a student at Sacramento State, acknowledged heightened tensions at her campus.
“On the first day of class, my professor said if there’s ever a shooter situation during class, we would have to flip over the table in class and tie belts to the legs and door handle because there’s no way to lock the door,” Aguiar said. “I’m not sure we [the school] should be bringing more officers on campus and putting up fences, but Sac State’s open campus makes it easier for a would-be shooter to come on campus. There’s no easy way to deal with the issue.”
At the Roseville forum, Dr. Twylla Abrahamson of Placer County health and human services stressed the importance of the parent in violence prevention.
“Parents have a huge role in detecting issues in the community,” Dr. Abrahamson said. “You [parents] know your children, you know their friends. You’re the ones that actually see them at soccer games, at church, at backyard barbeques. You’re the first person, usually, to notice these changes in yourself, your children or your children’s friends.”
One idea that may not go far, despite the National Rifle Association giving $291,000 to the Roseville high schools in recent years, is arming teachers with guns.
Roseville Police Department Capt. Marc Glynn suggested the idea could lead to unintentional bloodshed.
“That could be very concerning to law enforcement and could add to the confusion,” Glynn said. “We are trained to enter a school, move very swiftly and stop the threat. And if you could imagine a teacher popping out and us having to decipher ’is this an intruder or is this a good person?’ that would slow our response.”
On March 11, the Trump’s administration announced its intention to provide firearm training to teachers.