Mon10202014

News

Pinewood on edge after ‘threatening’ emails

An emailer described as a former Pinewood School student recently sent a series of messages to school officials that put the private-school community on edge.

An anonymous letter delivered to the Town Crier April 16 noted that the former Pinewood high school student “has sent many emails to counselors and teachers as to how he wants to bring carnage to the school, students and faculty.” The writer of the letter to the Town Crier, claiming close affiliation with Pinewood, called the emails “death threats” and added, “I’m concerned for our well-being and safety.”

Pinewood President Scott Riches would not comment on the content of the emails or how many were sent, but he said the messages, while sounding “angry,” were not as threatening as the letter alleged. Still, Riches said he contacted the Los Altos Police Department and apprised parents and staff.

Police Capt. Andy Galea reported that officers last week visited the home of the emailer, who left the school three years ago. Although the emails “did not cross the line” into death threats, Galea said, police advised the former student to stop the harassment. Riches said the emails have since ceased.

“(The content) doesn’t rise to the level of criminal activity,” Galea said, noting that police would continue to keep watch over the school.

“There’s nothing we could do from a legal standpoint,” Riches said.

Riches added that the school took the messages seriously, but he acknowledged that an incident that might have been brushed off years ago is now cause for alert in the wake of a series of tragic school shootings nationwide.

“It’s sad,” he said. “You have to be extra cautious.”

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