On Friday February 3rd, two Clovis West area schools, Clovis West High School and Fort Washington Elementary went on lockdown after a false threat was made against the former in an event the Fresno PD believed to threaten campus safety.
At around 2:15 PM a call was placed to a Fresno PD substation that directly threatened the Clovis West High School campus.
Fresno PD alongside the Clovis Unified Police Department then investigated and inspected the Clovis West facility.
After following safety protocols, some that include daily occurrences such as simple check-in procedures, parents were promptly informed with the district’s new auto notification system.
At the time of the incident, Fort Washington Elementary was placed in lockdown due to its close proximity to the high school.
At 2:56 PM, an update from the Clovis Unified communications team relayed the information that Fort Washington would allow students to be released through proper and safe channels, as a monitored release was supervised through their front office.
No student was released without the supervision of a parent at that time.
At 3:22 PM, the same happened for Clovis West, as Fresno PD had completed a full search of the campus during the school’s lockdown.
The monitored release was recommended by Fresno PD, and bus riders were escorted out first.
After bus riders, students with personal vehicles were allowed to leave campus after all bus riders were loaded.
Walkers had to stay until officers gave final approval for their release into the neighborhood.
It was at 4:05 PM that Clovis Unified and Fresno PD made the determination that the event was a “non-credible spoofing” threat.
This then allowed for the further supervised release of students from school sites.
Dr. Eimear O’Brien, Superintendent of Schools, sent out a public message about an hour after the last update from the communications team, led by Kelly Avants.
In the message O’Brien stated, “As Clovis West releases the last group of students from its campus, I want to personally thank Principal Eric Swain, his administrative team, and every member of our Clovis West staff, as well as Principal Hashimoto and her team. Their teams, who put their own worries aside, stepped up for our students and I am humbled by the empathy, compassion and calm that they displayed throughout today’s incident.”
O’Brien then thanked the Fresno PD and Clovis Unified PD for their efforts.
After this, the Superintendent stated, “The investment we make every day to create safe school systems, implement internal communication resources like Catapult (which allowed our internal teams to orchestrate busing, safety, CTE/CART, athletic, Special Education, custodial, Campus Club, and many other departments to quickly coordinate our responses), and practice those systems with staff and students are in place for times like this. Your support of our efforts is also critical to success in such incidents.”
“The individual, wherever they are, who intentionally set into motion this spoofing incident deserves our anger and disgust. We cannot tolerate such behavior, and I know that our resources, and those of law enforcement, will be devoted to, if at all possible, identifying the individual and holding that person accountable.”