Seven students were reportedly suspended from Maria Carrillo High School for possessing copies of a key that gave them access to campus facilities where students allegedly smoked marijuana and had sex.
One student with knowledge of the situation said more copied keys may exist despite officials' insistence that all keys are now accounted for.
Principal Rand Van Dyke declined to answer questions about the suspensions and the possibility that copied master keys that unlock all doors on campus are still floating among the student body, referring inquiries to George Valenzuela, attorney for Santa Rosa City Schools.
"Earlier in the 2012-13 school year, a group of students misappropriated a school key at Maria Carrillo High School," Valenzuela said. "The school key and all of the copies of the school key have been recovered. Appropriate disciplinary action was taken regarding the students involved."
"The district cannot comment further as this is a confidential student matter," he said.
But the reporter who broke the story in the school newspaper said that because multiple keys were passed around and loaned among students, he believes other keys may exist, posing a liability concern for the district.
"I was told by a student who was involved that it was entirely possible that there may be more," said Colin Metcalfe, a senior at Carrillo and a reporter with the Puma Prensa who wrote a front-page story in the paper's Feb. 7 issue.
"Those keys had no 'Do Not Duplicate' on them, so a keysmith wouldn't have any idea not to duplicate it," he said.
Valenzuela said that, after interviews between students and Maria Carrillo administrators, school officials felt that all the copied keys had been accounted for.
"The principal felt that they were all recovered," he said. "They were pretty honest."