Threat or Hoax?

Carly Ortega, Staff Writer

On Sunday Oct. 28 – one day after a deadly shooting at a Pennsylvania synagogue, and a day before a North Carolina student reportedly shot and killed another student at school, Northgate had a scare. Numerous students reported a social media post that involved an image of a gun and what some perceived as a threat.

Authorities investigated the Snapchat post after students and parents brought it to the attention of administrators and the Walnut Creek Police, who determined it was not a credible threat.

Nevertheless, many students who saw the post were concerned.

“I was in a bunch of group chats with my friends. Even if it was a joke, it’s not a funny joke because it just makes us feel unsafe,” senior Ron Abina said.

“I didn’t even hear about it until late at night when my friends were sending screenshots and my parents had no idea either. There’s only so many platforms the information is shared on, and I would definitely like to know about this stuff,” sophomore Emily Nakamura said.

On Tuesday Oct. 30, Principal Michael McAlister said that “there was a hoax that was posted and then quickly withdrawn off the social media site. It was investigated within an hour or so, not only by administration but by Walnut Creek Police Department, who were immediately alerted.” He explained how students and staff were never in any danger and that the investigation is ongoing.

When asked if there was any immediate threat to the school, Principal McAlister stated, “not at all. We take threats like this very seriously, so we didn’t know at first,  but as information started to be made available it was made very very clear that this was not what we call ‘actionable’.”

In a Sunday Oct. 28 evening email message to students’ families, Principal McAlister kept Northgate families updated during a series of emails about the posted message and the follow-up.

Although he could not comment on what action was being taken against the student who posted the threat, he advised that we look at our social media presence with a sense of responsibility and care.

“The Northgate community is paying attention to what they are doing. Every one of us has a strong commitment to doing what is right for one another, digital and otherwise… That’s what helped us ascertain that this was not a threat.”