A 14-year-old Torrey Pines High School freshman was taken to a juvenile detention facility on Feb. 22 after allegedly making verbal and written threats to the Carmel Valley campus.
Concerned Torrey Pines students first alerted the administration of a potential threat, which was directed at a pep rally that was to be held at school on Friday afternoon, Feb. 23. TPHS Principal Rob Coppo said as soon as the school became aware, they contacted the San Diego Police Department to investigate the threat.
“The police contacted the student off-campus,” Coppo wrote in a message to parents. “At no time were our students or school in danger.”
According to a news release, on the morning of Feb. 22, Northwestern Division’s Juvenile Services Team responded to the school’s request and immediately began to investigate the situation. The school had suspended the student after he made the threats, the news release stated.
On Feb. 22, at approximately 12 p.m., officers were able to make contact with the juvenile at his home for questioning, the news release stated. During the preliminary investigation it was determined that the juvenile had committed the crime of 422 PC “Criminal Threats,” and he was then detained and transported to San Diego Juvenile Hall Detention Facility.
The pep rally that was threatened by the student has been rescheduled to next week, however, some students opted not to go to school on Friday, Feb. 23.
“Our kids are absolutely petrified to return to school today,” said one parent whose child decided to stay home.
In a message to Falcon families on the morning of Feb. 23, Principal Coppo said while there was a lot of speculation and rumors regarding the safety of school, the campus is safe.
“We have been working in coordination with SDPD and have addressed issues of safety on our campus,” Coppo said. “We can assure you that we do not have any active threats and our campus is safe. School is open and we are looking forward to having our students learning and participating in school activities.
“We would like to thank the concerned students who brought this matter to our attention. As part of our ‘see something, hear something, say something’ campaign, we encourage all students to report their concerns to any staff member. We take all threats seriously and investigate promptly to ensure the safety of our schools.”
Student safety has been a focus at Torrey Pines following an incident in May 2017 in which a 15-year-old Torrey Pines student armed with a BB gun was fatally shot by San Diego police officers in the campus parking lot on an early weekend morning after he called 911. A suicide note was found in his pocket.
The Feb. 22 incident is the second time this school year that students have alerted administration to a possible threat—on Nov. 16 students reported that a fellow student was in possession of a BB gun on campus. In that case, staff and the SDPD were able to intervene quickly and the incident was resolved.
Coppo stated that safety resources can be found on the school website and he encouraged parents to talk to students about the importance of speaking up any time they have a concern.
“We all play a role in the safety of our school, and we all need to work together to protect our Falcon family,” Coppo wrote.
This recent case is still actively being investigated and there are no more details at this time. Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at (888) 580-8477.
Another resource for students is Students Speaking Out—(studentsspeakingout.org) to make an anonymous phone, text or web tip about dangerous activity or crime at school or in the community.