SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UPDATED:
Students arrived on campus at San Marcos High School on Friday, despite a publicized threat found scrawled inside a locker room.
Reports from campus indicated fewer students showed up than a typical day, but specific attendance figures are not yet known.
Deputies from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department continued an expanded presence on campus since the threat was first discovered.
This story is developing and will continue to be updated.
Graffiti in the girl's locker room at San Marcos High School has authorities ramping up patrols in and around campus tomorrow and Friday.
The graffiti message, which was found on Wednesday, threatened a school shooting on March 9, 2018, according to Kelly Hoover the Public Information Officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.
Hoover said school administrators became aware of the graffiti at about 11:20 a.m. Wednesday through an anonymous post on the new 'STOPit' reporting app.
“A lot of the students carry iPads now and it’s an app where they can report something to school officials anonymously," said Jarom Kemp, a deputy with the Santa Barbara Sheriffs department. "They can actually hold a conversation and text back and forth so they can keep giving information.”
The app was created by the education technology services and tested it out at Dos Pueblos High School at the beginning of the year. After a successful test run there the program came to San Marcos.
The school notified authorities and sheriff's deputies immediately responded to campus and began an investigation, according to Hoover.
Sheriff's deputies are working with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to identify the person or persons responsible. Meanwhile, school administrators sent emails immediately to parents warning them of the threat.
“They have made some improvements in their communications and we are very grateful for that," said Ericka Dixon, whose child attends San Marcos high school. "Parents are now being informed quickly, and so that feels better than hearing about it second hand, or several days later. In terms of how they are handling the current threat, we don’t know.”
As Friday approaches more deputies will be seen on and around campus grounds, but school remains in session.
“Kids are scared right now, and they are not learning," said Dixon. "A lot of kids are not at school today, and a lot of kids will not be at school tomorrow because they are scared.”
Hoover said, "Numerous interviews were conducted today with students, but so far a source hasn't been identified." She added the validity of the threat has not be determined, but the Sheriff's Office takes all threats of school violence seriously.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at 805-683-2724 or leave an anonymous tip at 805-681-4171.