Graffiti threat found at another Hilo school

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald A lone police vehicle is parked on campus at Hilo Intermediate School early Friday afternoon. School officials reported an alleged threat written in graffiti on campus, but the school remained open with no changes to the schedule.

Classes remained in session and the campus was quiet Friday afternoon at Hilo Intermediate School, although police were investigating an alleged threat made via graffiti on a school walkway.

It was the second consecutive day police reported a heightened presence on a Hilo public secondary school campus.

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Officers were sent to Waiakea High School Thursday after authorities reported the discovery of a threat scrawled in a boy’s bathroom the previous day.

Hawaii Police Department Capt. Kenneth Quiocho said the graffiti constituted “a threat made toward the school.”

“We don’t know how long it’s been there,” Quiocho said. “School authorities were investigating another incident, and when they went to the location where one of the students was found inscribing something on a wall, they found this other message that was posted there.

“The writing and the type of pen that was used does not match the writing they were investigating, and at this point, we’re just taking the necessary precautions to make sure the kids are safe.”

Hilo Intermediate Principal Heather Dansdill sent a letter to parents and guardians of the school’s students, notifying them the school’s internal investigation “determined there is no imminent threat” and that police are investigating.

“All threats to our school and students are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and immediately,” Dansdill wrote. “Terroristic threats are considered Class A student offenses. Penalties can range from detention to suspension with the possibility of arrest and serious criminal charges.”

In addition, Dansdill asked for parents and guardians to “speak to your children about the consequences for such acts and to encourage them to make good decisions.”

She also advised anyone who sees a threatening post on social media to “please take a screenshot and report it to law enforcement as well as the social media platform on which they are made.”

“Also, share with your children to refrain from reposting the threat. According to law enforcement, reposting a threat is as serious as making the threat itself — it breathes life into the initial post,” she wrote.

Quiocho said the initial Nixle public alert reporting the graffiti threat was made at Hilo High School instead of Hilo Intermediate was an error.

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Anyone with information is asked to contact School Resource Officer Michael Matsumura through the police nonemergency line at 935-3311 or call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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