SANTA MARIA, Calif. - An out-of-state watchdog organization is being credited with alerting a local high school about a social media threat allegedly made by one of its students.
Santa Maria Police say Pioneer Valley High School administration were alerted to an alleged threatening message from a male student posted on at least one social media site.
"We were on lock down for about 45 minutes, right as lunch was about to go out", says PVHS senior student Evan Ross, "supposedly someone said they were going to shoot the school or something on some social media site, I heard both Twitter and Facebook."
"Administration at Pioneer Valley High School was contacted by an outside organization who monitors social media", says SMPD Officer Marc Schneider, "there was some messaging that was concerning potentially a violent act may occur, the school was contacted, they immediately took action, contacted law enforcement we were able to identify one of the involved individuals, we were able to remove him safely from the classroom, and speak with him, and at this point it seems the message wasn't intentional, it was done out of joke."
Some PVHS parents learned of the lockdown when they came to pick up their kids.
"I think we should know but I think the authorities, they need to keep the children safe and that's their first priority", says PVHS parent Laura Ross.
Santa Maria Police say they welcome the heads up alert from social media watchdog groups like the unidentified one involved in this case.
"I absolutely believe they are a help", Officer Schneider says, "anytime you can have information given to you that could potentially stop or deter a potentially violent situation that's absolutely a help to everybody involved."
Santa Maria Police say they have questioned the student involved in the incident, they are not revealing his name because he's a juvenile.