School District Responds to Anonymous Blog Threat

David Cash, Superintendent of Santa Barbara Unified School District, holds a press conference addressing a nonspecific threat to local schools made via social media.
Paul Wellman

School District Superintendent David Cash spoke to reporters Tuesday morning at the district office, where he addressed a “nonspecific threat” to Santa Barbara schools made via an anonymous blog post.

At about 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, Cash said, an Ohio state resident informed Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) of the following blog post: “Thinking about shooting my classroom. Santa Barbara beware.” The website, “generally used by college students,” features difficult to track IP addresses, said Cash. “We have no idea where the post originated.” Officials declined to name the website.

In response, district officials met with the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, and SBUSD’s Resource Officer. The two law enforcement agencies are working in collaboration with the district to track the origin of the post, Cash said. According to police Sgt. Todd Johnson, “We’re trying to find out if we can located the IP address,” which came from outside of California. He added that shortly after posting, users often delete IP addresses on such anonymous sites. Johnson said the police department has notified the FBI.

The district posted a statement about the incident on its Twitter and Facebook pages and notified parents via a telephone message. Despite citing the police’s “strong presence” and asking administrators to be “even more visible today than they usually are,” Cash said SBUSD remains in session today.


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