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Casa Grande High School in Petaluma
photo credit: Courtesy of Casa Grande High School's website

Dove Cook was in English class around 10AM when she heard an announcement on the loudspeaker.

"It was confusing because they didn't really give us a lot of information, so I didn't really know how worried I should be," Cook said.

Cook said the extent of the announcement was, there was a bomb threat and no one needs to go home but everyone should remain vigilant.

By second period, like other students, she called her dad to pick her up.

"It felt like they were trying to keep up calm but it made people panic more because they didn't get enough information," Cook said. "They got the threat the night before so I don't even think we should have gone to school that day."

The threat was made anonymously through an app called StopIt just before 7pm on Wednesday evening. The app is designed for students to anonymously report issues like bullying.

But the Petaluma Police Department didn't issue a Nixel alert until 10:40AM Thursday morning.

When Cook's mom Tamara Westerhold got word about what was going on, she said she was terrified.

"Just the rush of adrenalin, you know, the fear of that kind of threat," Westerhold said.

Shortly after the Nixel went out, school officials confirmed the bomb threat in an 11 a.m. email. By the end of the school day, Petaluma police determined the threat was not credible.

But Westerhold, like other parents on social media, said families should have gotten word of the threat the night it happened.

"I think parents should have the right to know this information and keep their kids home," Westerhold said.

School officials reported additional threats made by students online, later deemed false by police.

Westerhold wants change, better communication and more up-to-date protocols for campus emergencies.

"So that we can feel a measure of safety going forward so that should things like this happen again, everybody in this scenario knows what to do," Westerhold said.

The Petaluma School district is holding a parent roundtable at 8:30AM next Wednesday to collect feedback and provide more information.

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