Two male Arbor View High School students were arrested Tuesday in connection with racially motivated threats made against their school.
The threats made on social media toward students at Arbor View, 7500 Whispering Sands Drive, were reported to police Monday night, CCSD police Sgt. Bryan Zink said, noting that school police were working with the Metropolitan Police Department.
District Superintendent Jesus Jara said that the Department of Homeland Security also is involved in the investigation.
Jara didn’t reveal the students’ ages, but said they were minors. He also said other students may be involved.
“I say to our school leaders, we do not tolerate and we will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
Jara said the two teens were arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats, conspiring to commit an act of terrorism, cyberbullying, hate crimes and breach of peace.
A message sent to parents Tuesday morning from Arbor View principal Kevin McPartlin described the posts on social media as including “racial comments and possible threatening messaging.”
An Instagram account that appears to have been created specifically for the threats said in a post Sunday, “Looking at my high school I realized I need to cleanse the hallways. There are to (sic) many (racial slur) in this school. We must act now.”
The account included images of black students that appeared to have been taken without their knowledge.
The threats left students on edge and many didn’t show up or left school early, according to two students interviewed Tuesday afternoon.
“We don’t see anything like that,” 15-year-old Jordan Vallestros said, referring to the threats. “Not at Arbor View.”
Vallestros said his classes were “empty” and that he saw fewer students than usual at lunch. Some students left school early after hearing about the threats, he said.
“There were like 13 kids in my class,” said 16-year-old Jude Cahilig, who added he saw police out in front of the school.
Cahilig said students were “freaking out” and “paranoid” as word of the threats spread at school. Some teachers locked their classroom doors during class to make the students feel more secure, he said.
Vallestros said McPartlin updated school officials after the arrests of the two teens.
“Our principal’s really good about spreading news around,” Vallestros said. “My teachers told us two guys were arrested.”
Jara said students should report threats of racial violence, and parents should monitor their children’s social media and have conversations with them at home.
“It goes back to the old saying: ‘If you see something, say something,’” Jara said.