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MUSD superintendent stands by decision to cancel athletic events despite KCSO saying 'no credible threats'

McFarland High School, McFarland (FILE)
Posted at 7:03 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-14 02:09:34-04

MCFARLAND, Calif. (KERO) — School districts in McFarland, Delano, and Wasco are putting a hold on their student athletic events this week in response to speculation regarding possible acts of violence in the community on social media. While police in both McFarland and Delano say there are no credible threats of violence, the McFarland Unified School District is sticking to its decision.

MUSD Superintendent Aaron Resendez says he understands what athletics means to the McFarland students and community, but that maintaining the safety of students, staff, and families is the district’s top priority.

“Unfortunately there was an event that happened in Delano that was a cause for concern for us here. We had a game that was scheduled for tomorrow with one of the Delano high schools,” said Resendez. “When we started to evaluate that and consult with some of the different folks that we work with in the law enforcement side, we just didn’t feel like that was something that was in the best interest of students and public safety. That was not just the football game, but that was all of the extracurricular events that we had planned for this week.”

Even though police say they are not currently seeing any credible threats of impending violence, either in the community or at any particular community event, Resendez would still rather be safe than sorry.

“This certainly was not an easy decision. This certainly wasn’t a decision that we took lightly,” Resendez said. “I would rather apologize for postponing or canceling an event than apologize for not doing it and having something catastrophic happen.”

According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, safety has also been a concern in neighboring areas. The cities of Wasco, Shafter, and Delano have also been on alert.

On Thursday, KSCO released a statement about the shootings reported this week, saying investigators had found no credible future threats to schools, parks, or any specific activities. The statement also revealed that the sheriff’s office is discussing whether to increase patrols anyway.

Resendez recognizes the effort police are going to in order to maintain the peace in their communities.

“We know that law enforcement is working actively to remediate and address some of these things, and we felt like this gave them the opportunity to operate and to address this without the complication of a large event like a high school football game, specially between two neighboring cities,” said Resendez.

Resendez says he feels that the parents of his community want him to take the extra precautions he has taken this week after consulting with the MUSD Board of Education and the chief of police in McFarland, and adds that the feedback he’s received from parents has been both positive and understanding.

“I think parents get it. There’s been a lot of things, not just within our cities and our county, but in the state of California and throughout the country where there’s been, I think, an increase in some activities that I don’t think we’ve seen in quite some time,” Resendez said.

As of Thursday, Resendez says the game cancellations will only be for this week, and he will continue to make changes if and when they are deemed necessary.

“The best learning environment is where students and staff feel safe. We enjoy various safe campuses. I want to be clear that we haven’t had any issues directly targeted at our students, or staff, our schools,” said Resendez. “Unfortunately, these are events that are happening in the surrounding communities.”