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Boulder Creek HS: Student withdrawals, claims he was bullied for reporting Snapchat threat


ANTHEM – A student has withdrawn from Boulder Creek High School claiming he was being harshly bullied by fellow classmates after reporting Snapchat messages that allegedly threatened gun violence and suicide, which turned out to be a cruel hoax.
The National Homeland Security campaign says, “if you see something, say something,” and James Hanford’s son did just that when he was sent a message by a Boulder Creek student that threatened to commit suicide and “shoot up first hour,” over two weeks ago.
Hanford says Snapchat messages and video from the student also threatened to kill his son and showed a video of guns being put into a bag on the morning of February 22.
His son immediately went to school officials to report the threatening Snapchats, which turned out to be fake. The student claimed that the videos were just a joke and was quickly detained by administrators after it was reported, according to Hanford.
No guns were found on school property or on the student, officials confirmed.
Detectives from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on Snapchat regarding this incident, but could not comment because the investigation is still ongoing.  Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) could not confirm if the student has been expelled due to privacy laws, but did say multiple students came forward about the incident.
"MCSO came immediately, and the kid was expelled," Hanford confirmed while also saying that MCSO did uncover video showing guns and threatening messages once Snapchat records were subpoenaed.  "It was a cruel joke, and my son was telling the truth."
Then things took an unexpected turn, and the next day his son was ostracized, harassed and slapped for reporting the threat, he says.
“My son was called a snitch, he was forced to leave the cafeteria without eating lunch because about 20 students surrounded him, and it was too overwhelming” said Hanford.
Hanford claims that the expelled student spread social media rumors about his son that solely ousted him as the person who reported the threat despite that other students had come forward, and that the school did not have the resources to handle the magnitude of the situation.
"My son is not protected here," he said while explaining why he decided to withdrawal his son from Boulder Creek.  "So we pulled him out of there."
However, DVUSD disagrees with Hanford.
“Anytime we receive a complaint of bullying it is investigated,” said Monica Allread the spokesperson for DVUSD.  “We will not tolerate threats, bullying, or other behaviors that are unsafe and/or disrupt learning.”
DVUSD says that many details about the bullying were never shared with school administrators prior to their meeting with Hanford, who took the incident to social media.

“In some instances, students and parents do not report, which makes it incredibly challenging to help them,” said Allread in an email.  “Our focus every minute of every day is safety and learning.”
But Hanford says that Boulder Creek High School did too little too late, and even though the drive to his son's new school is a little further, it is worth it.
"My son did the right thing, if you see something say something," Hanford said. "He did, and he was ostracized."