ENOUGH! Chandler Police and CUSD frustrated with threats to schools; offer reward for arrest


Ellie Wendt

Students safety in the Chandler District have been threatened multiple times this school year. CUSD and CPD have offered an reward to capture the people involved.

Within the last year, numerous violent threats have been made to multiple schools in the Chandler Unified School District, with the most recent taking place Jan. 20 at Willis Jr. High School.

According to assistant superintendent Dr. Craig Gilbert, numerous Chandler schools received automated phone calls threatening a bomb. The Chandler Police Department responded and the school went into a lock down. The threat was deemed as a hoax but it has raised the eyebrows of students, parents and faculty, and now CPD and CUSD are offering a $3 thousand reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for these threats.

With more exposure and the reward being offered, these instances will gain more exposure, with the hope that someone containing information will come forward.

“I think [the reward] will be successful,” Gilbert said. “I think people need to know this threat is out there.”

These types of threats have been occurring district-wide at all different levels. Automated phone calls, handwritten notes, and social media posts are among the list of the various ways the district has received threats.

“The automated phone calls are easy to send out, which sparked copycats,” Gilbert states.

Regardless of whether the threat is seen as a hoax or not, the district takes immediate procedures to deal with these serious situations.

“Anytime we would get a threat as serious as [Willis], we would work with the Gilbert police Department and work collaboratively together to make a decision on what to do,” principal Dan Serrano said.

When a threat occurs, there is a certain protocol that must be upheld through the school, the district and the police department. Assistant principal Jennifer Burks, who also serves as the head of security, said administrators have to assess each threat as its own entity.

“Each case is different, and so depending on how credible the threat is, at that point, with the help of the district and with the help of the Gilbert PD, we would decide [what protocol to use],” she said.

Depending on the severity, administration decides whether the threat is serious enough to evacuate the school, or deal with it quietly.

“If it is a threat – a valid threat – then we would evacuate or lock down and inform everybody,” Serrano explains. “If [the police department] determine it’s really not, then we may not.”

Some of these threats have been discovered to come from students, intended to be seen as a joke by their peers. Perhaps the individuals making the threats believe they’re making a joke, but CPD and CUSD want to be clear that they are not taking any threats lightly.

“We take these threats serious no matter [what type] it is,” Gilbert said. “Students need to know that they can be suspended or expelled, and it is also against the law.”

“It’s not a joke,” Burks added. “Even if you’re thinking it is a joke … the administration, the police department – no one else thinks it’s a joke.”

For students who threaten the school, consequences would not be a joke. Students who claim their threat is a joke have severe consequences, according to Serrano.

The school district asks that if you have information related to any of the incidents, to call the Chandler Police at (480) 782-4130.