At 5:20 on Tuesday afternoon, Cedar Ridge High School principal Intisar Hamidullah sent a brief but unnerving email to the school’s parents—including INDY publisher Susan Harper—echoing a robocall they’d received shortly before.

In English and Spanish, the email read: “Friday the administrative team was made aware of a threat to cause harm at CRHS. The threat was written as vandalism in a stall in the girls bathroom. Since we take the safety and security of all students and staff seriously, we have worked with law enforcement to implement a safety plan. We are encouraging students and staff that if they see something, please say something.”

 The threat came in the form of a message scrawled in black on an orange wall.  

“May 29, 2019, I’m shooting up this hell!!” it read. “GET READY.” Off to the side: “Then I’m gonna kill myself!!”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t know who left the message, says spokeswoman Alicia Stemper. Nor do investigators know when the message was left. 

But an incident report obtained by the INDY Thursday suggests that this wasn’t the first time such a threat had been graffitied at the school—and also indicates that the school might have known about these threats for a week or longer and not told anyone. And school officials did not contact the Sheriff’s Office about the threat. 

Orange County Schools spokesman Seth Stephens disputes the timeline in the incident report. Hamidullah, the principal, did not respond to phone calls and an email seeking comment Wednesday and Thursday. 

According to the incident report, a parent phoned the Sheriff’s Office at 6:16 p.m. Friday and said that her daughter had texted her a picture of the threat. The responding officer contacted the school resource officer, Corporal Richmond, who “advised that all staff were already made aware of the situation since Monday May 20th,” according to the report. 

In a supplemental report written on May 29, investigator C.B. Faircloth reports being “called to the upstairs girls bathroom on C hall at Cedar Ridge High School” on May 24. “[Redacted] had received information about writing on the bathroom stall wall. … [Redacted] told me this was the 3rd or 4th time this writing had been found. I had not heard about any of the previous writings. The graffiti was painted over. … On Tuesday, when I arrived at school”—Monday was Memorial Day, so school was not in session—“Administrators and myself began reviewing camera footage and trying to determine a time line for who might have written the message on the wall. Administrators pulled and talked with several students. Extra Deputies were on campus and will be for the duration of the week. No suspects have been identified at this time and there has been no validation of the threat.”

Both of these reports seem to contradict Hamidullah’s email to parents Tuesday. If Richmond is correct that “all staff” knew about the graffiti on Monday, May 20, that means school administrators did not inform parents for more than a week afterward. If Faircloth is correct that the graffiti had been painted over by Friday, May 24—or that it was the third or fourth time such graffiti had been found—that also indicates school officials had kept both parents and police in the dark. 

Stephens told the INDY that Faircloth’s supplemental report was “news to us.” But he said he did not think Richmond could have informed school officials of the graffiti on May 20, as Richmond was on vacation and Faircloth was filling in as the school’s SRO. He said he does not have an explanation for the discrepancy. 

Just after 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Hamidullah sent a second email to Cedar Ridge parents informing them of yet another threat. 

Good afternoon,” she wrote. “Today the administrative team in conjunction with law enforcement was made aware of a threat. The threat was written as vandalism in a stall in the boys bathroom. Since we take the safety and security of all students and staff seriously, we are continuing to implement our safety plan. As a point, please know that any person caught making threats against the school and or vandalizing school property will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Sheriff’s Office is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person responsible. We are encouraging students and staff that if they see something, please say something.”

Stephens confirmed that this graffiti also threatened a shooting, though he said it did not mention a date. 

Beyond the Sheriff’s Office placing extra deputies on campus, the OCSO’s Stemper said she did not know what the safety plan Hamidullah referred to in her emails entailed. 

This is a developing story. The INDY will update as more information becomes available. 

Update: On Friday, in response to our questions about apparent discrepancies in the accounts, OCS and the OCSO released a joined statement detailing a timeline of events. Read that story here

Thomas C. Martin is an INDY intern. Comment on this story at Send tips to 

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