November 19, 2019
Dear Hesperia Unified School District Family,
On Thursday, November 14, at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita California, a lone gunman brought tragedy to our world. This has understandably created anxiety regarding school safety at Hesperia Unified Schools. I want to assure you that the dedicated School Police serving the Hesperia Unified School District are committed to providing protection for our students, employees and school community. With the oversight of our Board Of Trustees, and our Superintendent, along with the direction and planning from our Cabinet we constantly plan for these types of events. We take this responsibility seriously and will use every available method and practice to protect our school community.
Following the recent incident, some of our students became aware of a possible threat on social media, they contacted school administrators, which began a district-wide focus on the information that was posted on social media. This is precisely what has been taught to our students and parents; “If you see something say something, if you hear something tell someone.” This situation was investigated and was quickly determined to be a non-credible threat. I applaud the information sharing that was initiated by a few of our students and parents.
Unfortunately, social media posts depicting pictures of firearms and other weapons, coupled with statements suggesting a threat to school safety, tend to increase significantly following a tragic event. Equally concerning is the fact that a large majority of social media posts involve students and school-age children attempting to cause fear and anxiety as a simple joke or thrill of experiencing reactions from fellow students, school staff, and parents.
Please know that our school administrators, local police department, and other stakeholders in our community take these threats seriously. Administrators and school police officers immediately respond to and investigate ALL such threats and or rumors received. These threats are unlawful, regardless of intention, and may result in serious criminal and civil consequences that include possible financial restitution for hours spent on investigations. They also may have serious administrative consequences at the school level, including possible expulsion and graduation implications. We need everyone to understand that these irresponsible actions can have life-long ramifications.
Here is what parents and guardians can do to help:
- Please take a moment to discuss this important issue with your children.
- Please stay connected and monitor social media activities that your children are engaged in.
- Please reach out to your principal, superintendent, the local police, school police or other trained professionals if you see or hear behavior that has potential for causing self-harm or harm to others.
- Please insure that if you own a firearm, keep it locked in an approved storage locker: This is the law!
- We participate in the Project Child Safe Program; we have free gun locks for use at home at the Hesperia School Police Station.
- Please ensure that your children do not have access to firearms while visiting the homes of friends or relatives.
- If you hear or see something, say something! Please report safety concerns to your school or local law enforcement. The Hesperia Unified School Police Department has an anonymous 24-hour Hot-Line for reporting safety concerns 1- 760-662-5378.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. By working, talking, and listening together-especially with our students-we will continue to keep our school community safe.
Steve P. Hinojos
Chief of Police