News

Menlo-Atherton High School lockdown lifted

 

UPDATE: The Atherton Police Department reported on its website that police lifted the lockdown at Menlo-Atherton High School at 1:52 p.m. and that the person they were looking for was "not on campus."

A message from M-A Principal Simone Rick-Kennel released to the school community said the school day at M-A "will resume as normal," according to Superintendent Mary Streshly of the Sequoia Union High School District.

"No threat was found" and police "completed their clearing of all classrooms and spaces on our very large site," Ms. Rick-Kennel said in her message.

This morning, school officials in an email to the school community said that M-A, at 555 Middlefield Road, was on a precautionary lockdown as advised by the Atherton Police Department.

A photograph on social media depicting an M-A student in possession of a firearm led to the precautionary measure, officials said.

"There is no threat to our students," the officials said at the time. The lockdown was ordered so as to assist police in their investigation, officials said.

More information, when available, will be shared "immediately," officials said.

The Almanac learned of the lockdown through an email sent by M-A Athletic Director Paul Snow to a reporter notifying him that a scheduled event was being canceled.

The lockdown is not a drill, Mr. Snow added. He said he had no further information to provide.

School and school district officials and the Atherton Police Department have not yet responded to The Almanac's requests for comment.

Secure campus at Laurel School, lower campus

Update:

According to Menlo Park City School District spokesperson Parke Treadway, "The secure campus at Laurel School Lower Campus was lifted at 1:55 p.m. after M-A confirmed that their lockdown was lifted and no threat was found. (Menlo Park City School District_ parents were notified at 1:58 p.m. by email and text that the secure campus was lifted and activities resumed as normal. The school provided heavier than usual staff presence at dismissal time. Dismissal occurred as usual at 2:55 p.m."

As of 1:30 p.m., Laurel School, Lower Campus, a school in the Menlo Park City School District that instructs students in kindergarten through second grade, had implemented a "secure campus" protocol, holding students indoors with doors locked, while instruction continues as normal.

Ms. Treadway explained that the measure was taken in response to information coming from Menlo-Atherton High School and the Atherton Police Department, due to the school's proximity to Menlo-Atherton High School. The elementary school is located at 95 Edge Road in Atherton.

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Comments

2 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:31 pm

According to Twitter there was a social media threat. My daughters are in classes on the floor in silence. They don't hear anything.

One teacher said there is not an active shooter on campus.


6 people like this
Posted by Another parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:32 pm

From the school - Menlo-Atherton High School is currently on a precautionary lockdown as advised by the Atherton Police Department. The lockdown was in a response to a photograph on social media depicting a Menlo-Atherton High School student in possession of a firearm.

Although the Atherton Police Department has been clear in stating that there is no threat to our students, they have asked that we take this precautionary measure in order to assist them with their investigation


7 people like this
Posted by Student from another school
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:34 pm

My friends at MA say there is no active shooter, but a crime outside of the school. Not sure if it's true but hopefully everyone is ok.


15 people like this
Posted by Lake-student
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Classrooms are being cleared now! Thank you to all of the brave teachers and students and everyone else to ensure that we are safe!!


4 people like this
Posted by MA student
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:39 pm

We are still on lock down and don’t know if there is an active shooter or not. There haven’t been any shots yet. So hopefully it’s nothing.


9 people like this
Posted by MA PARENT
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Hang in there MA! Home of the Bears knows to handle it. We all love you

Police: please contact Air Traffic Controllers and don’t let helicopters on top of the property. That only makes it worse for the students.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park

on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


4 people like this
Posted by Steve_J
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Steve_J is a registered user.

Where is the principal of M-A and why is Paul Snow making announcements??? [Portion removed]

[Editor's note: the original story said Mr. Snow sent an email to The Almanac, which is incorrect. He sent the email to a reporter to cancel a scheduled event, and explained why it was cancelled; the reporter passed the message along.]


23 people like this
Posted by MA Parent Alum
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Maybe the principal is actively working on the situation and asked Mr. Snow to contact the Almanac with the few facts they have right now, which have been reported as a precautionary lockdown. Steve_J, maybe you should get the facts before opening your mouth, rather than judging the staff at M-A. Just sayin'.


25 people like this
Posted by MA Student
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:03 pm

@Steve_J as a student at Menlo Atherton I am glad Paul Snow said something. At least now the police are on campus and our parents can know the situation. He didn’t open his loud mouth, he made sure that at least people know what’s going on. He made the best move for our safety and the schools safety.


7 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm

My son heard the kid with the gun is in San Jose. He sent me the Facebook posting and it includes his name, so that will help to locate him.


21 people like this
Posted by Another parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm

I appreciate the early news by the Almanac (even if unofficial channels, it is still big news in our community) and also thanks for continuing to update the article as more news arrives.


7 people like this
Posted by Mike D.
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I wonder if the kids will get dismissed early? Also, thanks APD !


2 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:23 pm

They are now releasing classrooms to resume normal activity one at a time. They repeated that there is no active threat.


3 people like this
Posted by Another parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Update from MA email-
Dear Menlo-Atherton High School Families,

To keep you updated Atherton police are taking additional precautions to release classroom to resume normal activities, one at a time.

We will notify you when the lockdown is lifted.

Again, there is no active threat on campus.


27 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Thank you Atherton Police and M-A HS for protecting our kids. Now let's make it harder for a teenager to get a gun.


5 people like this
Posted by Gov Employee
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:44 pm

USGS employee - was out at lunch when a staff person told us all to go inside, as our campus was also put on lockdown. I noticed a helicopter hovering towards the direction of MA high. We just had an additional person tell us all to stay at our desks. However, I am reading that perhaps, as of 12:50 or so, the lockdown has been lifted at the high school? No idea if these two instance are connected, but I would say so.


2 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:47 pm

"Per the Atherton Police Department, no threat was found, the lockdown has been lifted, and school will resume as normal."


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: other

on Apr 4, 2018 at 1:48 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


7 people like this
Posted by Kate Kennedy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm

As a parent of two M-A students, I'm disappointed that we got updates on this very scary situation primarily from our kids via text, secondarily from the school via email (which I only thought to check about half an hour after I heard about the lockdown), but not at all via Nixle, which has become the standard means for police departments to push out urgent information. Parents and kids were understandably very anxious during the lockdown, and Nixle updates would have helped tremendously.

That aside, I'd like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the M-A staff who acted so quickly to get our kids to safety and keep them calm during the lockdown!


3 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm

When and where was the photo taken? If it was taken on the M-A campus, we parents of M-A students have a right to know. Is the person now in police custody? Until these questions are answered, I cannot make a good decision about my child's safety at M-A.


19 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 4, 2018 at 3:10 pm

To my knowledge the picture in question was taken in a staff bathroom at a prior date (perhaps 2 weeks ago) an since the student has been expelled. That photo with a scary caption I can’t remember now was posted this morning. This was reported to the Atherton police who informed the administration and sent officers to the school immediately. To my knowledge the officers started by searching the bathrooms and then started a full sweep. About half way through that some student at school discovered through the Snapchat map that the suspect was in fact in San Jose. At this point the police and admin decided to end the lockdown after confirming that. That is what I know from word of mouth and I have personally seen both the picture and the Snapchat map. I hope you realize that it was a very scary situation and the administration was focused purely on keeping everyone safe, what dose it matter if they don’t communicate well. Having gone through this has honestly made me feel a lot safer and that we are well prepared, I’m still running on adrenaline to be honest. I’m just happy no one got hurt.


8 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Thank you, An MA parent and Student for the additional information. Student, I'm so sorry you had to experience this. I'm glad to hear that you think the school did a good job handling the situation; and agree to some extant that is the priority over perfect communication. I guess maybe we hope that we can have both, but that often is not the case. Finally, a heartfelt, thank-you to whoever reported the post this morning.


3 people like this
Posted by Facts
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Just to let people know that the only reason we don't have metal detectors in our school is because image wise for M-A. They don't want people outside of M-A to think it's a bad school which it isn't. Same goes for the reason why they got rid of the undercover cops. Image wise for the school. So basically, M-A image goes before the safety of the students.


2 people like this
Posted by M-A student
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:01 pm

does anyone have any information on why he was expelled ?


10 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Umm does nobody realize how many entrances there are to MA? There's no way that the staff could effectively screen the students. Sure it helps the image, but is mainly just not realistic to implement. The real issue is how this got for a gun.


5 people like this
Posted by An MA parent
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm

An MA parent is a registered user.

It turns out that the picture was NOT taken in an MA bathroom after all and the student is not considered a threat. I'd like to thank the teachers, administrators and police for doing such a stellar job today.


3 people like this
Posted by Annonymous
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Wait, so if the shooter is not deemed a threat... why were we forced o lock down. I think this may have something to do with Atherton Police wanting to improve public relations. Since they are widely viewed in this area as incompetent and a bunch of scrubs.


2 people like this
Posted by Clarifying source of facts
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:54 pm

"AN MA Parent" can you please share how you know where the picture was taken and what information you're privy to that makes it clear the student is not a threat?


Like this comment
Posted by Clarifying source of facts
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Meant to say "was NOT taken"


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From Atherton PD:

Posted on: April 4, 2018
Menlo Atherton High School Lockdown Update

On 04/04/2018, at approximately 11:30 AM, the Atherton Police Department received a call from San Mateo County Public Safety Communications. They had taken a report from a caller stating that a teenage male had posted a picture of himself with a gun on Facebook. The photograph appeared to have been taken in a restroom, and was allegedly posted two hours prior at approximately 9:30 am.

The caller reported that the photograph may have been taken inside a high school restroom. The caller thought that the teenager in the photograph attended Woodside High School. Further investigation determined that the subject in question was a former Menlo Atherton HS student who had recently been expelled.

At that point, Atherton PD directed MAHS to lockdown.

An MAHS employee looked at the photograph of the male teenager with the gun, and told officers that the restroom in the photograph was an MAHS restroom.

During the lockdown, APD officers performed a thorough search of the campus, including restrooms and classrooms. It was determined that the subject in question was not on the MAHS campus.

APD investigators were able to locate a cell phone number for the subject and placed a telephone call to him. The subject stated he was at a job site in Campbell, CA.

APD investigators contacted the Campbell Police Department, who responded to the job site and made contact with the male subject, who told them the photograph was taken weeks ago in a restaurant in Redwood City, and NOT at Menlo Atherton High school.

Officers responded to the restaurant and confirmed that the restroom wall background matched the wall in the Facebook photo.

Campbell Police officers interviewed the teenage subject, who they determined was not in possession of a gun. The subject also stated that he had no intention of harming himself or others.

The teenage male subject is a 16 year old resident of East Palo Alto.


4 people like this
Posted by another parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Thank you for the facts Peter and thank you to the professionals who keep our kids safe inside and outside the classroom.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would encourage Forum readers to recognize that this unmoderated Forum cannot be a source of reliable information - particularly in the case of a real time event.


2 people like this
Posted by An MA parent
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:49 pm

An MA parent is a registered user.

Peter's post fits exactly with the information I got from my daughter's teacher.


3 people like this
Posted by Homie don’t play that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm

“...16 year old resident of East Palo Alto.”

EPA Representing!


4 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 6:07 pm

Glad the situation has resolved, at least temporarily--thankfully. But, I think MA owes its families a more complete explanation than they currently have given. Are they just taking the word of this 16 year old expelled student, that he is not a threat to others? Whe did he have a gun in the first place, photographing himself with it? Have the police followed up? I for one don't feel great about sending my kid to school until I know more. Even the parents of local elementary school students received more complete info today than we MA parents did. Hopefully more will be forthcoming. No 16 year old should have access to a gun, ever.


3 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Apr 4, 2018 at 6:52 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

@An MA Parent,
Read the news update on the Atherton PD site. It contains as much information as we are likely to receive unless EPA PD follows up. MA doesn't really really have their own investigative powers beyond what the Atherton and Campbell PD's determines.

I think it would be useful if they linked in this in their outgoing updates:
Menlo Atherton High School Lockdown Update
Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 4, 2018 at 7:12 pm

@Kevin, yes, of course they don't have broad investigate powers. But, my understanding is that when a similar scare happened at the elementary school recently, the police were able to search the young person's residence to ensure that he in fact was not in possession of a firearm. Could they not do the same in this case? I'm not a lawyer; but, I am a parent, and I do know that a 16 year old canNOT always be trusted to tell the truth. The kid, recently expelled from MA, took a photo of himself with a gun strapped onto himself and posted it to social media. Are we just supposed to ignore that little fact?

Again--I am not complaining about the actions of our wonderful staff today. Just would like some follow-up info in order to hopefully feel better about sending my kid to school.


1 person likes this
Posted by 8 -> 7
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 4, 2018 at 7:25 pm

I wondered if this moron might have single handedly taking MA from an 8 to a 7, but I see discipline and attendance is already red flagged on Greatschools, so we're good.


6 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

@MA Parent,
Agree that I would like to see the kid's home searched as well and the origin of the pictured weapon ascertained. But if we want that, we parents have to lean in on the relevant authorities, the EPA police. Glad to see the abundance of caution today and the professional protection of our kids.

ps: Worthwhile reading the MA Chronicle account as well. Fast and comprehensive reporting:
MISINFORMATION SPREADS AS M-A IS LOCKED DOWN
Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Another parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:59 pm

@Kevin thanks for the link to the MA Chron article. I’ve been following all the reporting today and that is by far the best description. Well done MA writers!


3 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 5, 2018 at 8:35 am

Was the gun real? I've heard a rumor it was a paintball gun. I can't tell from the picture.

If it was real, I would like to see some follow up, too. Obviously, if this was the case, there were gun law violations involved.

I'm relieved to hear that the photo was not taken on the M-A campus, the student was nowhere near the M-A campus, and it sounds like there were no specific threats to M-A (though not having access to the social media account, I'm not clear on what additional comments were made).

Finally, given that this student was expelled from school, I hope he is receiving support from social services to address whatever hardship he's facing. I want my tax dollars to be used to intervene. I don't want this problem ignored.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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