ATWATER -- A 16-year-old Buhach Colony High School student was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of threatening in text messages he sent to kill students at the school, according to the Atwater Police Department.
The arrested student wasn't identified by police. He was taken to the Merced County Juvenile Detention Center, where he's still being held.
Neither parents nor students at the school had been told of the event as of Friday morning, said George Sziraki, a Merced Union High School District assistant superintendent.
At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, a mother of a female Buhach Colony High School student contacted the Atwater police. She explained that she had found disturbing text messages on her daughter's phone, said Frank Pietro, assistant chief of the Atwater department.
"You guys better watch out, I can kill you," was about what the text message said, noted Pietro.
After Atwater police interviewed the girl, it was discovered that another student had also received a similar text message.
That same night, Atwater Police Department's school resource officer tracked down the suspect at his home and arrested him after conducting an interview, Pietro said.
The school's staff was notified of the threats the next day, and extra security was brought to campus on Thursday, said Sziraki.
By Thursday the school's internal investigation found there was no imminent threat to students.
Sziraki said the student who was arrested could be forced to go to counseling, be suspended or even expelled. "There's a big range, depending on the circumstances," said Sziraki.
Before any decision on the matter is made, the district's screening committee and its child welfare and attendance officer have to make a ruling on the case, said Sziraki.
While they get a lot of allegations that they investigate, said Sziraki, such incidents aren't common. But sometimes, he said, students just make bad decisions.
Reporter Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached a (209) 385-2484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.