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Cell text messages warn of possible shooting at Tokay; more than 400 don't come to school

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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:00 pm

Rumors of a possible gang shooting at Tokay High School were exacerbated Tuesday evening by a barrage of text messages from concerned students that vibrated through cell phones across Lodi.

On Wednesday, approximately 450 students elected not to come to school. The school's population is roughly 2,000 students.

On a usual mid-week day, absences range from 160 to 180 students, said Erik Sandstrom, principal at Tokay High.

Michael Sublaban, 16, a Tokay High sophomore, received a text message Tuesday night that read: "There's rumor that Tokay might be shot up tomorrow. I don't know if it's true, but let people know."

Junior Dana Edwards, 16, said she received a text from nearly everyone listed in her cell phone warning her to stay away from campus Wednesday.

Sandstrom said the hullabaloo stemmed from a single student who said at lunch Tuesday that he was going to have his "crew from L.A. come up here and shoot someone."

Lodi Police Officer Dale Eubanks said the student was identified and "promptly expelled."

Eubanks added that students did the right thing by reporting the incident to administrators.

"You can't take chances anymore because there could be a deranged kid who wants to prove a point," he said.

The Lodi Police Department had extra officers watching the campus both before and after school. There were no major incidents.

The principal believes that the comment was related to Friday's gang fight, in which two students were cited for throwing punches at each other as students were exiting a rally. Sandstrom believes that six students were involved in the ruckus.


A police car is parked at the Tokay High School campus after rumors of a shooting circulated Wednesday. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)

Sandstrom said other students heard the boy make the comment about having someone shot, and told friends and family members. Soon, thanks to instant communication media such as cell phones and social networking Web sites, the incident was so well-known that the principal was receiving phone calls until 1 a.m. this morning.

"The rumor mill has been rampant," Sandstrom said.

Sandstrom sent out an automated call to all Tokay High parents Wednesday at 6 a.m. explaining that he believed that the incident was under control and the administration was doing everything it could to ensure the safety of the students.

Lodi police officers patrolled the school at the beginning and end of an previously scheduled minimum day.

Edwards said her classes were abnormally empty today, with as little as 10 students in classes in which there would normally be 35.

And, like a game of telephone, the hearsay had been spun to the point of absurdity.

According to police, one version of the rumor was that Sandstrom had been roughed up by gang members.

Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, said because students are able to spread rumors so rapidly that administrators often spend more time disarming those rumors than dealing with the actual problem.

"Today we're dealing with generation tech," Trump said.

Trump also said that nationally, as the nine-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting approaches, schools are starting to see an upturn in the amount of threats about campus attacks.

  • Connect-ED is the service Lodi Unified School District uses to alert parents en masse.
  • When school or district administrators need to let their community know about something quick, Connect-ED allows them to record a voice message and send it out to thousands of parents.
  • Connect-ED is part of Blackboard Inc., a California-based company.

    Source: www.ntigroup.com/products

Wednesday was also the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, and in Frenso a school resource officer shot and killed a 17-year-old boy after the student attacked the officer with a bat.

Some students said, just like any other piece of gossip, they took the rumor with more than a few grains of salt.

"I wasn't too worried about it because I'm not in a gang," Edwards said.

Even if students weren't worried about the possible threat, though, some of their parents weren't taking any chances.

Tokay High Sophomore Anjelica Mireles, 16, said she told her mother that she had to go to school because she was supposed to take an important social studies test.

Her mother, Maria, wasn't having any of it, though, and kept the teenager out of school.

Whether it was the lack of students present at the school or the heightened awareness that something terrible might really happen, students were noticeably quieter as they left campus Wednesday afternoon, and the rare loud noise caused dozens of head to turn.

"I just hope nothing really happens," Edwards said. "I hope it's all rumor."

Contact reporter Amanda Dyer at amandad@lodinews.com.

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32 comments:

  • posted at 1:05 pm on Sun, Apr 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Hey stockton reader are you really so stupid that you have never heard of an inter-district transfer?

     
  • posted at 2:55 pm on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Article IV paragraph 2 of the gang-banger handbook clearly states, "gang-bangers may kill, molest, rob, steal, do/sell drugs etc., but they may NOT cross school district lines in doing so!" There it is StocktonHomie, you` were right, gang bangers can be kicked out of the club/ gang if they go to a school they`re not supposed to.

     
  • posted at 1:58 pm on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Also it is the law that the admins tell the teachers of violent students. LUSD has a grievance against them by LEA for not following this law. They have brushed off the union for almost an entire school year. Call and ask.

     
  • posted at 1:56 pm on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    LodiReaderFromStockton wrote on Apr 17, 2008 10:01 AM: " LOL if a Stockton child went to Tokay it would be illegally. They are not in the school for their district and any teacher who would know that would be breaking the rules".

    You are right, teachers just have to look it up on SASI or their Cumulative file. And that's why we see kids like this getting intradistrict and out of district transfers. LUSD doesn't vare about the quality of the dlassroom or the campus, just the ADA money.

     
  • posted at 1:54 pm on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    I want to commend Erik Sandstrom, the students and the staff of Tokay High. The system worked as it was suppose to. Parents received a call from Erik Sandstrom at 6:10 a.m. that there were threats, we also received a follow up call from Sandstrom after school. Regardless of how much was embellished, text messaging also got the word out. Parents were aware of the situation and could make their own informed decision of whether or not to send their child to school. This is how it should work. Better safe than Columbine.

     
  • posted at 12:31 pm on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    The gang problem in LODI is deep rooted and is not easily fixed. But, don't think that Lodi High is exempt from the very issues that Tokay dealt with yesterday. Both Lodi and Tokay have areas within their boundaries that are less that desirable. I think the adminstration acted appropriately yesterday, but what concerns me is the message of empowerment we sent to those responsible - I can make a threat and send the whole school and community into a panic and be responsible for 400 students staying home. There must be a better response.

     
  • posted at 11:35 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    weezer, great blog. With the whackos in the world today it is better to be safe than sorry.

     
  • posted at 10:39 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    As the old cliche goes, better be safe than sorry. 400 kids out of harm's way.

    I'm not afraid of the REAL people who are willing to fight.

    I'm more afraid of cowards or posers who see the need to do some s2pid things to prove that they're for real.

     
  • posted at 8:42 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Hats off to the student who actually reported the problem ! All of you need look at the school boundries . OTH you must not have any children, as far as your first comment you made. Any concerned parent would have allowed their child to miss that day of school. If your worried about your tax dollars why don't you go look around the local parks on school days and see how many kids are ditching school. I just went on a school field trip and 4 boys were hiding behind a building.

     
  • posted at 8:06 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Get a clue people! These gang members at Tokay High are from Lodi. Simply go online to the LUSD website and view the attendance map. simply put these punks come from the southeast area of Lodi. Yes, some THS kids do have interdistrict transfers, but not that many.

     
  • posted at 7:52 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Trust me, the last thing you want, it to put them all under the same roof..

     
  • posted at 6:33 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    AND DOGBARK, THAT WAS I AGREE WITH THE ANONYMOUS 800 NUMBER BUT DISAGREE WITH A GREAT DEAL OF CERTAINTY THAT THESE STUDENTS BE GIVEN THE PRIVLEGE TO BE SCHOOLED BY THE ACADEMICS IN WHICH LIBERTY HIGH SCHOOL HAS TO OFFER.

     
  • posted at 6:30 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    DOGBARK I HAVE TO AS A PROUD GRADUATE AND RAISING A SENOIR IN LIBERTY HIGH SCHOOL HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU, THAT IS THE LAST THEY NEED TO BE. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY PROBLEMS THERE, IT IS SUCH A MISCONCEPTION THAT THE BAD KIDS GO TO CONTINUATION. IT IS SAD THAT KIDS WHO REQUIRE AND AREN'T AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP ARE CATEGORIZED AS BAD KIDS, AND THAT YOU WOULD FEEL THAT THEIR SAFETY IS WORTH LESS THAN ANOTHER CHILD'S. SEND THOSE KIDS HOME TO BE HOME SCHOOLED BY THEIR PARENTS AND BE DONE WITH IT!

     
  • posted at 6:06 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Obsever... you're wrong. They are part of north stockton from Lower Sac to Morada. all the way into Hammer. Our grandparents made a deal about land back in the day, that's why it's this way. We use to bus them in, now our LUSD busses are wore out and North Stockton has new schools. Lodi did this for Stockton. We bought them all the new schools in N.Stockton. Drive these streets in Stockton and "Observe" there you have it.

     
  • posted at 6:06 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Long belts are often a gang sign. Gang punks color the inside of their belt with a color marker, then they can slide it out of the loops and let it dangle showing their gang "color." If a teacher or admin comes along, the punks quickly tuck the belt back into the loops. Along with banning hats, the schools should insist on the right to ask a student to show the inside of his/her belt upon request. Then transfer those punks to continuation high. Help the good kids to rat out these punks; set up an 800 anonimous tip phone.

     
  • posted at 6:04 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Long belts are often a gang sign. The gang punks color the inside of the belt with a color marker, then they can slide it out of the loops and let it dangle showing their gang "color." If a teacher or admin comes along, the punks quickly tuck the belt back into the loops. Along with banning hats, the schools should have insisted on the right to ask a student to show the inside of his/her belt upon request. Then transfer those punks to continuation high. Help the good kids to rat out these punks; set up 800 anonimous tip

     
  • posted at 6:01 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Some of Stockton is "part" not park sorry for the error

     
  • posted at 6:00 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    They call Stockton park of LUSD. We use to bus them here till they built the COMPOUND

     
  • posted at 6:00 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    The Stockton students who attended Tokay were from Morada, hardly a haven for gangs. In fact, the Morada residents fought the change from Tokay to McNair. Tokay is a fine high school with an excellent academic program.

     
  • posted at 5:59 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Scout OTH.... I wouldn't send my kid to school after a gun threat or Bomb threat. One day of learning isn't worth the threat of a gun to the face of my child. Scout. , You're right about LUSD.

     
  • posted at 5:48 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    I would like to see where I called anyone a name. I know about inner district transfers but that is the minority and they could not be trouble makers or gang members and be allowed one so those Stockton kids can not be blamed for the trouble as Scrutiny is trying to do.

     
  • posted at 5:07 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    LodiReaderFromStockton wrote on Apr 17, 2008 10:01 AM:

    " LOL if a Stockton child went to Tokay it would be illegally. They are not in the school for their district and any teacher who would know that would be breaking the rules"

    If MacNair is a part of LUSD then all the student needs is an Intra(Inter) district transfer. I had one because I moved to Lockeford, but did not want to transfer from Tokay to Lodi.

     
  • posted at 5:05 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Scrutiny and LodiReaderFromStockton, do not use this forum to call names and launch childish attacks on each other. Lets act like the adults we are, and not like kids, otherwise we are no better than the students causing all this ruckus. Tokay had a problem when I was there in 2001 and continues to have a problem to this day. Stockton students, or no Stockton students, there is a gang problem that has been grossly understated for quite some time.

     
  • posted at 5:01 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    LOL if a Stockton child went to Tokay it would be illegally. They are not in the school for their district and any teacher who would know that would be breaking the rules. So think again. Oh, and real bright that the only comeback you can come up with is "pinhead". LOL Too funny. And what would be the reasoning in punishing the students who stayed home for their safety? I'm sorry but if there is even a HINT of a shooting to come at my son's school he's not going to be there.

     
  • posted at 4:42 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Why all the criticism towards the students? A student made threats and other students responded to protect themselves. They also informed the proper people of the threat. I was a graduate of Tokay. I did not feel safe there. Don't punish 400 kids for being afraid and for doing the right thing. Punish a bloated LUSD administration that fails to protect its students and teachers.

     
  • posted at 4:02 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    To Stockton pinhead, don`t tell me that Stockton kids don`t go to Tokay, ask ANY teacher there!

     
  • posted at 3:55 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    As a taxpayer I hope these 400 students have to make up this day. Preferably on a Saturday.

     
  • posted at 3:46 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Hey Scrutiny in case you haven't noticed Tokay is in Lodi. Stockton has nothing to do with it. Oh, and if you're talking about Stockton students they now go to McNair and not Tokay. So it's all Lodi. And anyone with half a brain knows Lodi does have a strong gang problem. It's people like you who ignore that fact that helps to keep the gangs going.

     
  • posted at 3:10 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Tokay = Stockton = well... you know the rest of that story...

     
  • posted at 2:55 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Why are these things always happening at Tokay and not Lodi High? The tear gas incident was intended as a practical joke and, no, I'm not excusing their behavior. Tokay's problems are deep rooted and have been ongoing for many years.

     
  • posted at 2:10 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Crew from LA??? That guy is a poser

     
  • posted at 1:56 am on Thu, Apr 17, 2008.

    Posts:

    Just a rumor is all a wanna be gang needs to spread to have tv crews, police, and the LNS on hand. Even tho nothing happened they let the entire community know that they are here, and here to stay! Caution is always best but only someone totally ignorant would show up to start any trouble with lots of cops on hand. We are very very lax on gangs! What happened to the parole and probation sweeps for weapons and drugs that seemed very effective some months ago?

     

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