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2 students detained, gun found after threat at CVUSD school

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3,700 students and staff across three schools in Thermal were evacuated after a credible threat was issued to Toro Canyon Middle School Wednesday morning, the Riverside County Sheriff's Dept confirmed.

According to Sgt. Brandi Swan, spokesperson for the Sheriff's Dept., authorities received a school violence threat at 10:10 a.m.

They believed it to be a credible threat.

School buses lined up outside to evacuate students

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a news conference that students saw a student with a handgun at a bus stop. Deputies arrived at the school 10 minutes later but found that the gun was passed to another student.

In addition, Bianco said an object that appeared to be a grenade was found in the backpack of the second student.

As a precaution due to the possible grenade, Toro Canyon Middle School, Las Palmitas Elementary School, and Desert Mirage High School were evacuated. The three CVUSD schools are all connected to the same campus area.

He added that the bomb squad examined the potential device in the backpack and determined it was not a grenade but a toy radio device that looked like a grenade.

Two students have been detained and a weapon was recovered, Swann confirmed. Bianco said the students are 13 and 14 years old.

"We will be determining the consequences of their behavior," Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Luis Valentino said.

Bianco also added that the handgun was registered as belonging to someone from another city.

Blanca Hall, CVUSD Trustee President, confirmed the school is clear. Classes at all three schools will resume on Thursday.

It took the Sheriff's Dept. and CVUSD several hours to provide information about what was going on to concerned parents. Bianco apologized for the delay and says there are challenges to getting information out faster. 

"Our legislature have made it illegal for us [Sheriff's Dept] to talk to juveniles. So we cannot obtain information that we'd normally get in the past about the safety of other students, about other students that may be involved. And so this is a very long and painstaking process that we have to go through to make sure that the rest of our campus and the rest of our students are safe"
- Sheriff Chad Bianco

Bianco is referring to Senate Bill 203, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in late 2020.

CVUSD Trustee Jocelyn Vargas wrote a statement on her personal Facebook page at 12:27 PM:

"Please don't be alarmed, we are following the directions of the Sheriff's Department as a precaution.. There have been no incidents but we are following all measures to keep all students safe.. The district is sending directions to parents on where they can pick up their students. Sheriff's Department to hold a press conference.Parents please check the district media for information on where to pick up your students"

News Channel 3 has a crew on the scene, speaking to parents and officials. We'll have the latest details live at 6 and 6:30 p.m.

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Article Topic Follows: Local News

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