(Editor’s note: Superintendent Matt Best sent the following to families, staff and students on Monday following yet another bomb threat).
Dear Families, Staff and Students:
At approximately 8:00 a.m. this morning, September 25, 2023, the District was made aware of another bomb threat against our schools. The threat included anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and targeted North Davis Elementary, Birch Lane Elementary, King High School, the District Office/DSIS and the Yolo County Library – Davis Branch. This is the fifth bomb threat that includes anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric against our schools and community in the past six weeks.
We unequivocally denounce these threats of violence and hate as acts of domestic terrorism. These acts are designed to intimidate and coerce our community and District into diminishing our support for our LGBTQIA+ community. These tactics will not work, as our community stands united against hate. This was clearly articulated in a Joint Statement from the District, the City of Davis and Yolo County last week, and we will continue to reinforce our values of belonging and inclusion.
The Davis Police Department (DPD) and the Yolo County Sheriff, in coordination with federal authorities (including the FBI) are investigating these threats. We have been advised that previous threats were sent in a manner that makes it nearly impossible to identify the sender. This increases our frustration and solidifies the reality that these threats may continue without recourse.
Whenever a threat occurs, the DPD responds and investigates. In cases of bomb threats, the DPD determines if additional resources (bomb squad) are needed, and they work to clear the sites by searching the campuses for anything out of the ordinary. While DPD reports that with these latest incidents, the risk of a real bomb is extremely low, we feel it is important to have DPD assess and clear impacted campuses. The District fully cooperates with these investigations, and we do our best to communicate to our community in a timely and clear manner regarding the issue(s). Depending on the details, the time and potential impacts of the threat, the DPD and District response may vary. In this case, with the start of school minutes away, we decided to delay the start of school at affected sites and evacuate the campuses.
We know that each incident may be different, depending upon the threat details, time of day, and other factors. As a result, our response may differ based on the situation. In addition, after each emergency incident, we debrief with our staff to identify what went well and where we can improve in the future. We welcome your feedback in order to help us continually improve.
Incidents like this can be very stressful for students and families. We have provided guidance for families and staff supporting students after a bomb threat. Our school teams are here to support you and your student(s). Please call your school office should you need support.
Moving forward, we hope you will join us in condemning hate and threats of violence against anyone in our community. We will continue to be a District and City where “We All Belong” and take every opportunity to demonstrate this value.
With Deep Gratitude,
Matt Best, Superintendent