RICHMOND -- Students at De Anza High School have been going to class amid extra security and a renewed emphasis on wearing their student IDs after someone sent two racially charged letters to the school earlier this month, police and school officials said.

Richmond police were investigating the letters, sent a week apart on Sept. 12 and 19, and said that although they were racist, they don't appear to be a credible threat.

There were no specific threats made about any individuals, Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

"The letters are quite vague," Abetkov said. "Obviously, whoever wrote the letters made blanket statements, but nothing that we've been able to uncover to this point would lead us to believe the threats have any credibility."

One letter stated that the writer "couldn't wait until the next school shooting." The writer did not target De Anza High specifically, Abetkov said.

De Anza Principal Bob Evans said the writer referred to the school's "darker" students -- apparently a reference to African-Americans and Hispanics -- and stated that they weren't worth educating.

According to Evans, 43 percent of the student population at De Anza is Hispanic and 25 percent is African-American. Eleven percent of the student population is Asian and 12 percent is white.

Abetkov said no individuals were singled out in the typed letters. Police were investigating whether they came from someone who works at a shopping center near the high school, located on Valley View Road in Richmond.


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"Students often congregate there, but we have had no complaints from the businesses over there this year, other then a couple of small fights that didn't escalate into anything," Abetkov said. One letter referred to the school's "so-called students" and said they "are a nuisance at the plaza where my business is located."

A Starbucks coffee shop in El Sobrante at one of the shopping centers near the school also received a similar letter, police said.

Evans addressed parents of De Anza High students at a PTSA meeting on Wednesday after sending an automated message to the school community on Monday. He said students have been required to have IDs on lanyards where teachers can see them, but that the school will be more vigilant in making sure students are wearing them.

The parking lot gates to the school also have been closed. Normally, the gates are left open, Evans said.

"I take it very seriously. I'm very offended," Evans said. "We've had a great year until this. The kids have enough stress. They don't need any more."

Abetkov said all high schools in Richmond normally have two patrol officers stationed at the campus during the day. "We will continue to investigate it," she said. "We have to take all threats seriously."

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789. Follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH. Contact David DeBolt at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.