A threatening email sent to the Calistoga school district late Thursday is believed to be a hoax similar to one that has been sent to other schools nationwide and internationally, an official said Friday.
The anonymous email threat was “very similar to the email hoax sent to schools last Sunday night in Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties, as well as many others across the United States,” wrote Erin Smith-Hagberg, superintendent of Calistoga Joint Unified School District in a letter to parents and guardians of students.
“The email we received came from the same sender as the Sunday night threat, and the Calistoga Police Department was immediately notified.”
Although it was not believed to be a credible threat, police conducted frequent checks of the schools during the night, and were at the school when students arrived for school Friday morning. The maintenance staff inspected all the facilities and teachers were instructed to inspect their rooms. The district also made counseling available to students.
The district notified parents and guardians of students through an all-call system and Facebook pages.
The email that threatened grisly violence through the use of bombs, shooting and slitting throats had poor grammar and misspellings.
According to the Press Democrat, 40 superintendents in Sonoma County received the email threat Sunday night at 11:30 giving them enough time to inspect schools, but in Lakeport the email threat wasn’t read until classes were already underway.
The Press Democrat reported that Lake County officials were unaware of the hoax and deployed 27 law enforcement officers, six firefighters and eight public works employees to conduct a full sweep of the campus and a lockdown.
A Santa Rosa superintendent told the Press Democrat that police determined the threat came from an anonymous group that has been creating panic with similar threats in the United Kingdom.