1,400 skip school in Anaheim

Times Staff Writer

More than half the students were absent Friday at an Anaheim high school where a cryptic note in the campus newspaper raised fears of a potential violent act.

Of the 2,200 students at Savanna High, more than 1,400 failed to show up for classes, district officials said. Absences at the school are usually only a fraction of that, said Pat Karlak, a spokeswoman with the Anaheim Union High School District.

"The scare did have an impact," she said. "No doubt about it."

Supt. Joseph Farley said Friday that "this entire situation is unbelievably unfortunate. . . . I think we all own this as a culture. We all own this reality, from gun control to school safety to the role of the media," he said, referring to the television news vans parked across the street from the school.

No incidents were reported at Savanna amid an increased police presence, school officials said. The note was among 150 messages printed in the "Love Gram" section of the school paper last week. It read: "To Metal Destroyer Militia. Remember guys -- We all go down 2/22!! Let's quit stalling!! Much Love! 666! All the way baby!"

District officials began an investigation last week and intensified security all this week. Karlak said Savanna officials received more than 100 phone calls from parents Thursday, asking if their children should attend school Friday. Officials encouraged parents to send their children to class.

"Things are very quiet and safe" at Savanna, Karlak said.

The potential threat comes during a month that has seen a flurry of deadly shootings across the country.

david.mckibben@latimes.com

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