Orcutt Junior High School

Administrators at Orcutt Junior High School are investigating a death threat written on a bathroom wall at the school earlier this week. The individual who wrote the message has not been identified.

Administrators at Orcutt and Lakeview junior high schools are investigating threatening messages written on bathroom walls earlier this week, and increasing security on campus in response.

On Monday, Orcutt Junior High School reported a message written on a bathroom wall expressing thoughts of self-harm and harm to others. 

School administrators contacted law enforcement after a student brought the message to their attention and are trying to track down who may have written it, Principal Kelly Osborne said in a Wednesday message to families.

On Thursday, parents at Lakeview Junior High also received a notice from administrators stating that a "message communicating a threat to school safety" was found in a campus bathroom earlier that day.

Officials did not confirm the exact messages written at each school.

Lakeview administrators said they also notified the Sheriff's Office about the incident, and both schools said they are increasing enforcement presence on campus as a precaution. 

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"At this time, we do not have any information regarding who may be responsible for the message, but we are going to amplify our strategies for monitoring student conduct and interactions closely, both while students are in class and during breaks, out of a vigilant effort to ensure student safety," Osborne said to the Orcutt Junior High community Wednesday.

She asked parents to remind their students of the importance of sharing any information that could help to identify the person responsible, and said the school will be reminding students they can always turn to a trusted adult if they feel a need for support. 

Santa Barbara County sheriff's spokeswoman Raquel Zick said while deputies did document the message written on the wall at Orcutt Junior High when they were called, they are not involved in any investigation.

The alleged threats follow a string of similar incidents over the past week in Santa Barbara County. On Tuesday, St. Joseph High and two neighboring schools went into lockdown amid reports of a rumored shooting threat, eventually determined to be false.

On Oct. 28, the Santa Barbara Unified School District also requested a sheriff's investigation into a vague Instagram story post telling people not to go to school the following day, eliciting concerns among students and staff about potential violence.

The person who made the post was found to be a Ventura County juvenile, and determined not to be a threat, according to Zick. 

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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