- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Officers will continue increased visibility
By GRETCHEN PHILLIPS
School officials said no incidents occurred in Charles County schools as a result of widely spread rumors of school violence Thursday.
Charles County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Diane Richardson said rumors were making their way around schools Thursday regarding such things as someone bringing a weapon to school.
Richardson said that Friday marked the day that some believe the Mayan calendar predicts to be the end of the world and a lot of talk about that was going around.
“School resource officers have checked in on each and every bit of rumor. At this point, there are no credible threats,” she said.
In a letter sent home Thursday to parents, Charles County Superintendent James E. Richmond wrote, “Most of the rumors center on tomorrow's date, December 21, 2012, which doomsday-believers say will be the end of the world.”
The rumors were not isolated to any high school or middle school, Richmond wrote.
School system staff said that every threat and rumor is taken seriously at the schools and that none that came to the attention of school resource officers Thursday were viable or credible.
By 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, all Charles County schools had dismissed on their regular two-hour early dismissal time.
School Spokeswoman Katie O'Malley-Simpson said the day went on as scheduled and there were no incidents related to the rumors made the day before.
In his letter to parents, Richmond asked for assistance from parents to help prevent rumors from spreading.
“We ask you to speak with your children about any rumors or threats to student safety, and encourage your child to pass the information to a teacher or administrator but not spread it among other students,” Richmond wrote in the letter.
Richmond assured parents that all information provided to the school system is checked to ensure school safety.
Richardson said officers increased their visibility and patrol at all the schools this week.
Richmond called a meeting of all middle and high school principals Thursday afternoon to review the importance of maintaining high visibility at the schools.
School spokeswoman Katie O'Malley-Simpson said Richmond also encouraged them to “carry on the school day in a safe and orderly way, as they do every day.”
As for consequences for such rumors, Richmond wrote “Students who are found to be responsible for starting or spreading these rumors, which cause disruption to the school day, will be disciplined as outlined in the Charles County Public Schools Code of Conduct.”