St. Mary's School closure in Aliso Viejo prompted by email threat

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An email threat prompted Saint Mary's School in Aliso Viejo to shut down on Tuesday and Wednesday. Details of Monday's threat were not released.

An email threat prompted Saint Mary's School in Aliso Viejo to shut down on Tuesday and Wednesday. Some parents are upset the school didn't notify them by email until Monday night, even though their children were forced to shelter in place hours earlier at the school as a precaution.

"I can't divulge any of the specifics of the email (threat), but ultimately we want to find out who sent it and if there's any credibility to the threat," said O.C. Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.

About 800 children attend the private school in grades ranging from preschool to 8th grade.

"I want to know what is going on. I would really like to know the nature of it. All we've been told is a 'threatening email,'" said parent Tony Novak. "The handling of this situation, from my perspective, is an utter lack of communication, and I'm not happy as a parent and father of two boys."

The head of St. Mary's would not talk on camera, but said the safety of students is their top priority. Administrators say it was a "precautionary measure" to close the campus Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We cannot provide any additional details as we do not want to interfere with the efforts of law enforcement," the school said in a statement.

It's the second email threat in a week at an Orange County school. The sheriff's department bomb squad was called to Fountain Valley High School last week after an email talked about hidden explosives on campus and a mass shooting to follow. So far the sender of that email is still unidentified.

"I don't want to speculate on drawing any connections between threats at any other school campuses. What I can tell you is that the sheriff's department is working with administrators from this school assessing this specific threat as to its credibility and where and who may have sent the email," said Hallock.

St. Mary's will remain closed Wednesday, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department says it expects to have more information to release then, including exactly when the school will re-open.

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school threatAliso Viejo
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