It was “basically like any other day” at Waiakea High School, according to Principal Kelcy Koga.
Hawaii Police Department showed a heightened presence at the public high school in Hilo on Thursday, a day after authorities reported to police a message threatening to shoot up the school and mentioning the date of 03-05-2020. The message was found on the door of a stall in a boys restroom, according to Koga.
“Our students came to school, and things were normal,” Koga said. He added he hadn’t yet checked attendance when contacted by the Tribune-Herald.
“Some parents keep their children at home. Not many, but some of them do,” he said.
“We went there with a presence,” said police Capt. Kenneth Quiocho, the South Hilo Patrol Division commander. “There weren’t any incidents reported, nothing usual occurred.”
“But we wanted the parents to be OK with the fact that we would be around in case something did happen,” he added.
Police called the written threat “very broad in scope” and said “no one was directly mentioned.”
Quiocho called the message in the bathroom graffiti “a dumb thing to say” and “a dumb thing to do.”
“It’s a serious matter. Like yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, it has some repercussions for the person who says that kind of thing. It’s detrimental to everybody,” he said.
A police bulletin Wednesday evening said the incident had been shared on social media, which Quiocho said “bring(s) popularity to the message, which should be discouraged, since it threatens our children at the school.”
“What I was trying to do at that point is to just get ahead of it and make people think before they start just posting stuff,” Quiocho said Thursday. “… I just wanted to make sure the parents of the students who go to that school have a conversation with their kids about posting anything about this or bringing any kind of prestige to it.”
Quiocho noted the fortitude of the student who brought the scrawled message to the attention of school officials. He said that they, and the police, take such incidents seriously.
“We are going to do the police thing when stuff like that happens. We’re going to show presence,” he said. “We’re going investigate the incident itself and see if we can come up with a suspect and take enforcement action.”
No suspects have yet been identified.
“This is not the first time something like this has happened, and we try to be as vigilant as possible as far as student safety is concerned,” Koga said. “The police has done a great job of showing their presence and being around.”
Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to call the police non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.
“We’re asking for the public’s help,” Quiocho said. “Somebody knows who wrote this or somebody was bragging about it. If they have information and disclose it to us, we’re going to follow up and investigate it.”