"I would have never in my wildest dreams thought we'd be dealing with this especially at a K-5 elementary site," said Superintendent Richard Hassay.
Wednesday night, the Antelope School District learned of an Instagram post stating "I'm going to kill everyone I'm going to shoot up Antelope."
School officials contacted law enforcement and looped in parents right away.
"The school was on it, we received 'reminds' throughout the night explaining the situation and telling us why we'd get the next update in the morning," said parent Kirsten Cornelius.
During the Tehama County Sheriff's and District Attorney's investigation, the parents of a 12-year-old boy who's a student in the Antelope district told law enforcement their son admitted to posting it as a joke.
Although the child who made the threat admitted that there was no intention behind it, law enforcement and the school say they're taking this very seriously.
"There were so many law enforcement officers here, some had just gotten off of graveyard shift, others were stationed here all night," said Cornelius.
"We will as a district hold this student accountable for their actions and any other student out there needs to know this is not a joke, it has personal implications to many other kids and families in the town," said Hassay.
The superintendent says the child may be expelled.
And despite assurances from the Sheriff that the campus was safe, about half of the students stayed home Thursday.
"It's sad, it breaks your heart that your kids have to deal with this and I was torn about bringing my kid today but this is a teaching experience, a chance for them to learn that this is not something you joke about," said Cornelius.
There are emotional repercussions that can't be undone.
"When you have a kindergartner that hears about this and trying to let them know we're doing what we can to make them safe? It's very difficult, and very difficult for parents to want to send their kids if they think there's a threat," said Hassay.
"Words matter and so I really hope the school will use this as an opportunity to talk to the kids about how what you say matters," said Cornelius