Burbank Police arrested a 14-year-old minor Wednesday after threats were allegedly made against Luther Burbank Middle School.
Wednesday night, the police were made aware of a text messaging conversation that involved at least one minor student. Police told the Leader that the messages contained a threat of violence to LBMS.
Burbank Police officers and detectives immediately initiated an investigation and subsequently identified the person responsible for the message, said BPD spokesman Sgt. Stephen Turner.
The suspect, a student at the middle school, was arrested, and later released to his parents with a citation for criminal threats in accordance with juvenile justice procedures. The parents were cooperative with officers and no firearms were found.
“The Burbank Police Department has zero tolerance when it comes to school threats,” Turner said. “False threats, hoaxes or jokes can cause significant fear and anxiety amongst students and the community. All incidents involving school violence, or threats of school violence, will be investigated, and those responsible [are] held accountable. The Burbank Police Department reminds students and parents to immediately report anything suspicious to school officials or the police.”
On Thursday morning, LBMS Principal Stephen Hubbell sent an email to parents and school stakeholders, relaying the story and adding that the student would not be attending school that day.
“The school is safe, and there is no threat to students and staff. We wish to thank BPD for their assistance. We take all alleged threats very seriously. If you ever hear or see something concerning, please contact school administrators or law enforcement,” said Hubbell.
Burbank Police have consistently responded to dozens of threats of violence at schools in recent years, and they follow a strict procedure to ensure that threats are analyzed, and students are treated appropriately through the process.
Police Capt. Adam Cornils recently gave a report to the City Council on BPD procedures, telling Council members that officers are prepared to respond to threats on Burbank campuses. Police have developed site plans for each Burbank school to help officers better navigate building layouts.
Additionally, school resource officers are empowered to investigate criminal threats, including provocative posts on social media, Cornils said.
In the past three years, resource officers have conducted dozens of threat assessments and made at least five arrests of students who posed a criminal threat, including some who had “kill lists and named victims,” according to officials.
If a threat is identified, but it’s not imminent, that student is connected with mental health services, according to BPD officials, which appears to be the case with the recent threat at LBMS.
To report more information to Burbank Police, call the department’s non-emergency line at (818) 238-3000.
First published in the November 4 print issue of the Burbank Leader.