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Security beefed up at L.A.'s Hamilton High after threats

April 24, 2009 | 10:15 am

After two threatening messages were found in two days in a boys' bathroom at Hamilton High School, officials increased security today on the West Los Angeles campus.

Both messages were found in the same bathroom, the first Wednesday when students saw a note scribbled on the wall warning that students would be injured on "4/24," said Earl Perkins, assistant superintendent of school operations for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

 "We immediately began an investigation into the matter," Perkins said. "Our first priority is our students … and staff."

After the first message was removed, another was found Thursday morning that read: "Jews will be injured," Perkins said.

He said rumors about the threats spread swiftly among students through text messaging, Facebook and MySpace, giving school officials further reason to request extra security from school district police and the Los Angeles Police Department.

"The school is operating in a calm matter," Perkins said this morning adding that usually two school police officers are stationed on campus, but today there will be more. He declined to provide an exact number.

Hamilton's principal alerted parents and teachers about the threats using  a telephone alert system and the school's website.

The website also reported an incident involving two non-Hamilton students who were detained Thursday by school police officers after they were found trespassing onto the campus on South Robertson Boulevard. One of the students was pepper-sprayed by officers after refusing to cooperate, the school's website said.

The incidents come just days after the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, in which 12 students and a teacher in Littleton, Colo., were killed when high school seniors Eric Harris, 18 and Dylan Klebold, 17, went on a shooting spree before committing suicide.

Perkins said the Hamilton High threats had "no relation whatsoever" to the Columbine anniversary.

-- Ruben Vives

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