Despite Graffiti Threat, Classes On at AHS

Alameda Police say that graffiti that has caused widespread concern within the community at Alameda High School is not considered a credible threat. Classes will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 11, as usual.

The police and school administration did not reveal what the graffiti said, but it was reportedly located in a bathroom on campus and brought to the attention of authorities on Dec. 5.

A second letter sent out by Alameda High Principal Robert F. Ithurburn, and obtained by the Alameda Journal, said the following:

“After a multiple-day investigation by AHS administration and Alameda Police regarding the graffiti threat found on campus, the school does not know who made the threat. In the process of questioning students, the witness statements have conflicted and been inconsistent upon re-questioning.

“As a school, we have interviewed double-digit numbers of students. We distributed the letters to staff and the community to let you know what was happening. We have asked staff to let us know of any student whose behavior may have changed recently or who may be in need of some help …

“As is our usual practice, we are continuing to comb the campus for any objects that could be out of place or left behind as is our usual practice. Finally, we are meeting with students who express concern and providing them an opportunity to process their anxiety.”

Ithurburn goes on to explain that in his 13 years of work as a principal, including time in other school districts, this is the sixth time he’s had to notify a school community about such a treat. In none of the six cases was the threat “viable or that played out.”

“We still take such threats seriously and do our due diligence in trying to determine why someone would make such a threat. We also prepared in the event that such a threat could have merit,” he added in his remarks.

While he understands families’ concerns and perceived need to keep their kids away from school, Ithurburn says his policy has always been to keep schools open—“business as usual” —to send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can “paralyze a program.”

“As for Alameda High School, we take such threat very seriously while keeping in mind that the statistics show that these threats are rarely true precursors to violence at school,” he noted. “We will be a greater presence in the halls and outside this week and will continue our daily sweeps to look for anything out of place. We will increase the adults on campus and have prepared for and reviewed our safety and lock-down procedures.”

Janet Levaux