CARPINTERIA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's department says it put all of its resources into the investigation after finding out about social media posts that were a serious concern. Three teens from Carpinteria High have been arrested this week.
The investigation came to light when a Snapchat posting was made showing a student with a rifle, along with some words that were considered dangerous. NewsChannel 3 has learned the picture originally had no words on it, just the teen with a rifle, and later another teen reportedly took the shot and modified it with text that set off an alert.
School officials and the Sheriff's Department were able to identify the teen involved after the Tuesday night posting and that revealed other concerns along with weapons.
Sgt. Brad Welch said "he was apprehened and arrested on that Wednesday. A relative of his also a Carpinteria High student, the faculty decided to do some locker searches and inside that relative's locker was a realistic looking barretta bb gun which could clearly be mistaken as a fire arm. So that relative was arrested on that separate charge of bringing a weapon on campus."
Investigators say another high school student was found to be in a picture with a firearm making threats and he was also arrested.
In all, they seized an operable rifle and handgun and a replica firearm.
School Superintendent Diana Rigby said in a letter, "All three students have been arrested, booked in Juvenile Hall, and will be recommended for expulsion."
She said the cooperation from the school and families was impressive. "I want to commend the parents for notifying us and encourage all students and parents to alert school staff of any threats
to our students and schools."
Rigby says in this day and age "digital citizenship" needs to be on going as early as Kindergarten. She stressed there are many students using social media and digital content appropriately every day but, "parents need to be monitoring their children's use of social media."
The district will be increasing its information to students and parents about the right and wrong way to use social media.
On this specific week of concerns and arrests, it is still unclear where the motivation came from that led to the postings.