All doors were locked from the inside, and security was heightened Monday at Williamsville South High School after a death threat, possibly racially motivated, against an Asian-American student and his friends, officials said.
Police traced the latest incident -- the second in as many months to trigger the district's post-Columbine emergency response plan -- to the theft of the student's car from the school parking lot last Thursday.
Shortly after reporting the car missing, the student found a "computer-generated" note taped to a door at school telling him where to locate it, police said.
The car was found in a nearby parking lot off school grounds with the seats slashed and the body spray-painted, Amherst Detective Sgt. Michael Torrillo said.
A note inside the vehicle vowed to "kill you and shoot you in the head" before or by Thursday, and threatened "boys from South" High School, he said.
Williamsville South Principal Elvin Simmons said the note also included a slur against Asian-Americans, which led the district to believe the incident might be racially motivated.
"The student is of Asian-American descent," he said. "Tie two and two together."
Although district officials said police believe the perpetrators do not attend Williamsville South, Torrillo said police had no suspects and were asking students or others with information to contact school authorities or the Amherst Police Department.
"We don't know if it involved someone enrolled. We're not at a point where we could rule out a student or a prior student who had a connection," he said.
The school's doors, meanwhile, have been locked -- although they can be opened from inside if needed -- and guarded by Amherst police during school hours. Security guards also have been added at night.
Simmons said the added security will continue until Thursday or "the situation is resolved. We don't take any threat lightly."
In November, Williamsville, the county's largest suburban school district, had resorted to emergency measures after a bus driver claimed a teen-ager had threatened her with a gun.
The districtwide alert that followed included locker searches, book-bag frisks, helicopter flyovers and detectives with bloodhounds combing fields and wooded areas.
The driver, Suzanne I. Aupperle, later said she had fabricated the story, although her attorney subsequently questioned the validity of that confession. She remains on unpaid leave while criminal charges are pending.
The case had been scheduled in Clarence Town Court for Jan. 20 but was postponed until Feb. 17.
Simmons said notes were sent home to all Williamsville South parents informing them of the incident and explaining the added security.
Some students, though, were getting fed up with the district's response to the situations.