Righetti and St. Joseph high schools were placed on lockdown Wednesday morning after several students received an anonymous text warning there was a gun on campus, although the threat of violence was later determined to be unrelated to the campuses.
The lockdown at the Orcutt schools went into effect after 9:30 a.m. and was lifted just before 11:30 a.m.
Though the school day continued, 150 Righetti students — approximately 7 percent of the student body — were checked out of classes by their parents following the incident.
During their investigation Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials determined the social media post, which threatened violence during a planned walkout Wednesday, was actually directed at Atascadero High School, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
Early Wednesday morning Atascadero Police identified, contacted and arrested the student responsible for the social media post, said Hoover, who added that no other students were involved in perpetuating the threat.
While Atascadero Police were taking action, Righetti students reportedly spotted the social media threat and believed it was directed at their campus, which set into motion the eventual lockdown of both Righetti and St. Joseph high schools.
Righetti senior Brenda Gomora was in her English class when the lockdown began. She had heard about a possible incident taking place before the walkout but wasn't made aware of the threat until that morning. Her mother called her right away, cautioning her to be careful and stay safe.
"She wanted to come pick me up but I told her not to," Gomora said. "Regardless, it was pretty scary; we all wondered what would happen if someone was actually there."
During the two-hour lockdowns at Righetti and St. Joseph high schools, officers and school administrators investigated the origin of the message, finally determining it was the same social media post that had originated at Atascadero High School.
"I was in the office when this all went down," Righetti senior Courtney Krelle said following her release, calling the incident frustrating. "I was here during freshman year when a [big fight] and other gun threat happened. You think people would grow up by now."
A planned walkout at Righetti High, held in conjunction with schools across the nation to protest gun violence, was postponed until lunchtime.
"That's the whole reason this threat happened," Krelle said. "I think it's really immature and inappropriate. A lot of students waited for the walkout to happen; for it to get [postponed] was really upsetting to some people."
During the lockdowns, the school resource deputy assigned to the campuses was assisted by additional sheriff's deputies and personnel from the California Highway Patrol and Santa Maria Police Department.