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Online threat prompts increased law enforcement presence at Nordhoff

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Ojai Valley News photo by Austin Widger
Two Ventura County Sheriff’s vehicles were parked outside of Nordhoff High School on Sept. 16.

 

Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter
In response to the unsubstantiated, anonymous online threat made against Nordhoff High School today, there will be an additional law enforcement presence throughout the week at the campus.
Furthermore, there will be additional monitoring of all the Ojai Unified School District schools all week, OUSD Superintendent Tiffany Morse said.
Some of the OUSD Board members reached out as well to find out how they could help with the current situation. “We kind of divided up schools (between board members and administrators) just to be present to talk to the community members if they had issues,” Morse said.
Morse said information on the number of students who chose not to attend school at Nordhoff today likely will not be released. According to students who did attend Monday, a significantly large number of students chose to stay home.
Morse sent an email Sunday at 8:09 p.m. and responded to posts from members of the public on the Ojai Community Network Public Group Facebook later that evening.
The superintendent's posts from Sunday evening are copied below:
"This has been a very delicate balance. There was an anonymous post in an online forum about NHS. The police investigated and the threat was unsubstantiated, and they did not recommend closing the school. 
"We decided to tell NHS parents, but in doing so knew that we would ourselves spread the rumors and fear about a post that otherwise would have likely been unnoticed. Because the post was only about NHS and was not deemed credible by law enforcement, we decided there was greater harm than benefit to spread that same fear to other schools and parents, and especially younger students."
In another post, she wrote:
"We worked with law enforcement all afternoon and evening and they investigated. The threat was unsubstantiated and did not warrant closing the school. But we still felt that we needed to tell parents, so they could make they own choices for their children."
In response to a question about whether there would be repercussions for students whose parents chose to have them stay home Monday, the superintendent replied in a post:
"We have directed staff that there shouldn’t be."
The superintendent's email sent at 8:09 p.m. Sunday reads:
"Important Information for Nordhoff Community 
Hello NHS parents and staff,
Today there was an unsubstantiated anonymous online threat made against Nordhoff High School tomorrow. It was immediately reported to both the police and district officials. While we do not believe this is a credible threat, we are taking precautions to ensure student safety and want to make sure you are aware of the situation.
Our district has been working collaboratively with the Sheriff's Department over the last year on our protocols and practices to ensure the safety of our students and community on a daily basis. In addition, tomorrow will have a significant police and administrative presence on campus throughout the day.
As a community, we are grateful for those who immediately report suspicious activity. We encourage everyone to follow the "See Something, Say Something" protocol. We know threats like this are alarming, even if they are unsubstantiated and unfortunately more common than ever.
By working together on tough issues like these, we will keep our kids the heart and future of the community.
Dr. Tiffany Morse, Superintendent”
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