Redwood student arrested for violent threats

Visalia Police say threats were never real but remind the community that making false threats is still a crime

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Threats of school violence continue to loom over high school campuses across the country, and Visalia is not immune. 

On Nov. 21, Redwood High School administration received information of a possible threat to the campus. The Visalia high school’s administrators worked closely with members of the Visalia Police Department to investigate the threat. Dr. Tamara Ravalin, interim superintendent of Visalia Unified School District, said an extensive investigation identified the student who made a generalized verbal threat.  The police determined that the threat was not credible and that students were safe; however, due to the nature of the verbal threat, the student was arrested and taken into custody by the Visalia police. School returned to a normal schedule the next day.

Ravalin said these types of threats often follow a national incident, such as the Saugus High School shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif. a week earlier. The Los Angeles Times reported that the shooter, 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow, opened fire on his classmates in the quad area between classes killing two students and wounding three others. 

“Incidents like that put students and staff on the highest alert,” Ravalin said.

It is the third such threat at Redwood High School since January. At about 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 31, Redwood administrators were informed of a possible threat to its Academic Building on campus that was posted on a bathroom wall. That message listed the day of the potential incident as Feb. 4. Before school on the following Monday, officers conducted another search of the campus and the Academic Building to ensure the safety of all Redwood students and staff. Officers determined that the campus was safe and school was able to follow the regular schedule.

Four days later, Redwood High School issued a statement that an administrator received information regarding another threat written on the wall of the boy’s bathroom: “If school isn’t evacuated tomorrow I will bring a gun and kill as many people as possible 2/4/18”. While viewing surveillance video, the school resource officer observed a student entering and leaving the bathroom where the message was left. The student, only identified as an 18-year-old white male, was brought into the office

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