POWAY, Calif. (CNS/KGTV) - School and law enforcement officials met with parents Monday morning outside Meadowbrook Middle School to answer questions and concerns on the first day of classes since two students at the Poway middle school were found to be carrying "hit lists" containing the names of classmates and faculty.
In addition to sending a deputy to answer parents' questions along with Principal Miguel Carrillo, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department planned extra supervision at the campus and in the surrounding community as a precaution. The school also planned to make counselors available and heighten supervision by staff before, during and after the school day.
The so-called "hit lists" were discovered Thursday and Friday, when students had a previously scheduled off-day, sheriff's Det. Jess Allensworth said. School administrators on Thursday reported the first list, found to be in possession of an eighth-grade boy and containing the names of students and faculty at the school but not any specific threats of violence.
The eighth-grader was taken into custody but later released to his parents when it was determined he had no weapons, sheriff's Det. Chris Allen said. As a precaution, everyone on the list was notified.
On Friday, sheriff's officials discovered a seventh-grader with a similar "hit list" containing the names of six students, law enforcement and school officials said. That student was also detained for questioning and those on the list were notified.
"Authorities are meeting with the student and their family and are currently conducting an investigation, and we will be contacting families as needed," Carrillo said in an email to Meadowbrook families on Friday. "We are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement and will provide any additional information as necessary."
Carrillo's email also said "law enforcement and administrators have procedures in place to safeguard our students, staff and the community related to these two incidents."
Sgt. Mark Haynesworth, with the sheriff's department's Poway station, said Monday, "The parents were concerned and wanted to know when we found out about it, when the school found out about it, but after we spoke to them everyone seemed to be OK. We take all threats seriously, but we don't believe the minors had the capability to carry out actual violence toward anyone on the list."
The names of both students were withheld because they are minors.
Sheriff's detectives did not say how the lists were discovered, but Carrillo credited "students who courageously provided us information so that we are able to proactively address safety issues with urgency."
Poway Unified School District spokeswoman Christine Paik told 10News, "In both cases, it was students who came forward and let school administration know about the existence of these lists, and that takes a lot of courage to be able to step up and say, 'Hey, this is concerning' so that law enforcement and the school could immediately act and ensure the safety of school and staff."
Anyone with more information about either incident was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers' anonymous "Students Speaking Out" hotline at (888) 580-8477.