On the same morning high school students across the Central Coast and the country participated in a walkout protesting gun laws and school shootings, Atascadero and Santa Maria schools were put on lockdown after receiving threats of gun violence.
The Atascadero Unified School District locked down all of its school sites on March 14 when police and school district officials were alerted to a social media post that threatened to "shoot up" Atascadero High School and a subsequent threat at another school site.
"Im [sic] shooting up the school tomorrow during the walkout. Are you? Im [sic] going to enjoy every scream and every tear. Are you?" the student wrote in an Instagram post. "We are NOT going to stop. We are NOT going to give up. We will NOT stop till every living thing on the campus is dead."
Police arrested the unnamed juvenile at his residence, and he will be booked into SLO Juvenile Services Center. He acted alone in the threat, according to police. Details about the second threat to the other school site weren't available to New Times by press time.
In response, school officials canceled the walkout protest planned by students.
The same morning in Santa Maria, Ernest Righetti High School and St. Joseph High School went on lockdown after multiple students reported receiving text messages about a gun on campus. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office later determined the threat was related to the Atascadero threat and lifted the lockdown.
A lunchtime "walkout" proceeded at Righetti, according to a school official.