Updated 3:48 p.m. Dec. 28.
During morning recess at Imperial Beach Charter School last Friday, two students found a .22 caliber bullet in the cracks of the blacktop on the playground, said Principal Pamela Reichert-Montiel.
"The bullet was very banged up and looked quite old," she said via email Thursday. "The boys immediately turned it in to me and I called both of their parents."
Deputy Joe Barry, school resource officer with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department was then called to dispose of the bullet, Reichert-Montiel said.
The bullet was rusted, dented, run through the mud and appeared to be at the school for a decade or more, Barry said.
"I really couldn't tell you how old it is," he said. "I can tell you this right now: there's no way the bullet was usable, that's about how old it was."
In his first year as a school resource officer for 12 South Bay Union School District schools, Barry said this is the first time he has heard of a bullet being found at any school.
"After the bullet was found, staff and I scanned the entire blacktop and grassy area. We did not find any additional bullets," Reichert-Montiel said.
A letter will be sent home to parents when students return to class next month, she said.
South Bay Union School District officials could not be reached for comment. District offices will be closed until Monday, Jan. 7.
Disposing of the bullet came amid chatter on Facebook last week about a possible school shooting at a Sweetwater Union High School District schools.
As the school resource officer for Mar Vista High School, a dozen South Bay Union School District schools and Friendship School in IB, Barry and sheriff deputies walked through campuses across the South Bay to make a law enforcement presence known, he said.
"We went to do security checks at every single one of those schools cause there was talk on Facebook about a shooting going on at one of the Sweetwater Union High School District schools," he said. "I can guarantee there were a lot of parents, including myself since I have kids in these schools, that were concerned about what were going on at these schools."
Security was increased at Sweetwater, Castle Park and Chula Vista high schools as a result of the threat, district spokesman Manuel Rubio told U-T San Diego.
In the wake of shootings in Newtown, CT, the South Bay Union School District's website pointed to links to helpful information on how to deal with tragedy.
With Deputy Barry's help, a safety and behavior expectations assembly was held for 5th and 6th grade students last week. A similar assembly will be held for other students at the charter school after winter break to teach students topics like what to do when they see a stranger on campus and reporting unsafe behavior, Reichert-Montiel said.
Last week was not the first threat of gun violence at local schools.
In May, Imperial Beach Elementary School and nearby Mar Vista High School were closed after two threats were made.
On May 1, minutes before school ended for the day, a call was made to Mar Vista High School that six bombs had been placed around the high school and someone was on a rooftop nearby with a high-powered rifle with a scope. Both schools went into lockdown for about an hour before students were allowed to leave.
No explosives were found, and a San Diego Police Department helicopter did not see anyone with a gun on a nearby rooftop.
San Diego Harbor Police bomb sniffing dogs and the Sheriff's Bomb-Arson Unit cleared the area of any explosives about three hours after a call was received.
by someone threatening to use a handgun to commit suicide at the school. Mar Vista High School was closed from 9:15-10 a.m. and hundreds of parents croweded administrative offices to take their kids home.
"It's the same guy from yesterday," said Lt. Marco Garmo in May, adding that the caller seems to just want attention. "We're not playing in and giving him any more attention."
These incidents were reported to the Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech (CATCH) Response Team, a regional law enforcement group, but no suspects have been identified, he said.
CATCH officials did not return calls for comment.