Thermal schools were back in session Thursday after a pair of students were detained when a handgun was discovered to have been taken to Toro Canyon Middle School, which prompted the evacuation of three schools.
Coachella Valley Unified School District Board President Bianca Torres Hall said that classes would resume Thursday.
At 10:10 a.m. Wednesday, deputies responded to the area of Avenue 66 and Tyler Street on a report of a threat at Toro Canyon Middle School, Sgt. Brandi Swan of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department told City News Service.
Sheriff Chad Bianco said a student was seen at a bus stop with a handgun Wednesday morning. He said sheriff’s deputies responded to the middle school campus, but that at some point that morning, the handgun was passed to another student.
“We went and retrieved that student and a backpack containing the handgun,” Bianco said. “Under closer examination of the backpack, there was an object that appeared to be in the likeness of a grenade, so out of abundance of caution for school staff and for our students that are here in school, the decision was made to evacuate the school.” The suspected grenade turned out to be a toy radio device, he said.
A 13-year-old and 14-year-old juvenile were detained at the scene, according to Bianco.
“We will be determining the consequences of their behavior,” CVUSD Superintendent Luis Valentino said.
About 3,700 students from Las Palmitas Elementary School, Toro Canyon Middle School and Desert Mirage Middle School were evacuated to neighboring schools, with buses brought in to carry students off campus to be reunited with parents.
“I want to congratulate our students for notifying the right people so that this investigation could take place,” Torres Hall said. “I want to congratulate our staff for collaborating and for making this transition easier on our kids.”