UPDATE NO. 2, DEC. 12, 9:47 A.M.: A 14-year-old ninth grader has been arrested for allegedly leaving a bomb threat followed by a school-shooting threat–and he is being investigated for Sunday's fire at Bolsa Grande High School as well, according to the Garden Grove Police Department.
Police and fire investigators have been working with Garden Grove Unified School District officials since the mini-crime wave began with Sunday's fire and continued with Tuesday's campus-clearing bomb threat, which was left in the form of a note found by a student that afternoon.
At the end of the school day Wednesday, a second note was found at Bolsa Grande indicating there would be a campus shooting, said Lt. Ben Stauffer, the Garden Grove Police spokesman. There was an increased police presence on campus Thursday morning but no bombs or weapons were found to have been brought to school and students were able to attend their classes as scheduled, Stauffer said.
Meanwhile, school staff reviewed the threatening notes "and thought they recognized the writing as possibly being that of one of the students," Stauffer said. "Investigators in the case contacted the student on campus and questioned him regarding the note. Investigators developed sufficient information to arrest the suspect for leaving both threatening notes at the school."
Numerous items of evidence from the student's home were seized after a search warrant was served there, said Stauffer, who added, "The investigation is continuing to determine if this student was involved in the suspicious fire on campus" Sunday.
Garden Grove Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gabriela Mafi issued the following statement: "Everyone at GGUSD is extremely proud of the teamwork and patience that was demonstrated this week by the entire Bolsa Grande High School family. Teachers, staff and students supported one another and remained calm during a highly stressful time and are a model for everyone in the district. We are also thankful for our wonderful, collaborative relationships with the Garden Grove Police Department and the Garden Grove Fire Department; we could not have gotten through this without their continual support."
UPDATE NO. 1, DEC. 10, 12:21 P.M.: Further investigation into Sunday's fire at Bolsa Grande High School has determined the blaze was "of suspicious nature," according to the Garden Grove Police Department.
"Garden Grove Fire Department arson and police investigators are now working together to investigate the fire to determine if a crime was committed," says Lt. Ben Stauffer, the police department spokesman.
He notes numerous people were on campus and in the area where the fire started, and he asked anyone who has not already spoken to police with information about whether it was intentionally set or a suspicious person or people in the area to call investigators at 714.741.5704. Tips can be left anonymously, Stauffer adds.
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 10, 6:06 A.M.: Someone really wants the winter break to start early at Garden Grove's Bolsa Grande High School, as there was a fire there Sunday and a campus-clearing bomb threat Tuesday afternoon.
A note indicating there was a bomb on the campus at 9401 Westminster Ave. was found by a student and handed over to the staff around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. The staff put the school on lockdown until police officers arrived, at which time cops began evacuating the 2,075 students, says Lt. Ben Stauffer, the Garden Grove Police spokesman.
After a room-by-room search of the campus, police gave the all-clear about 3:30 p.m., said Stauffer, who added that students, teachers and staff members were then allowed to return to fetch their bicycles, vehicles and personal belongings.
Classes were scheduled to resume today, according to school officials, who during the brief closure had to contact parents to arrange for early pick-ups of their children. And this was going on as Bolsa Grande deals with the loss of eight classrooms closed after Sunday's fire.
Two rooms were gutted and four more were damaged by smoke and water in the fire that also injured a firefighter's hands and feet, according to authorities, who say the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
A few hundred students who had classes in the fire-scarred wing are gathering with their teachers in makeshift classes in the gym, library and cafeteria through next week's winter break, according to Garden Grove Unified School District spokeswoman Amy Stevens. When school resumes in January, those classes will be held in portable classrooms while the damaged rooms are repaired, she added.