Two Charles County schools were on heightened alert Tuesday morning while the Charles County Sheriff’s Office investigated what turned out to be a fake active shooter report, according to an emailed letter from the principal of Matthew Henson Middle School.
The middle school was placed on lockdown shortly after 10 a.m., principal Christina Caballero wrote in the email, and nearby J.C. Parks Elementary School was placed under lockout protocol, which means all exterior doors are locked but classes continue as usual inside. The lockdown at Henson stopped normal school activities until around 10:30 a.m., Caballero wrote.
Emergency dispatchers received a call at 9:56 a.m. “stating that there was an active shooter inside Matthew Henson Middle School,” according to a sheriff’s office press release.
“Charles County Sheriff’s Officers (CCSO) responded to the school and were able to quickly identify that the report was false,” Caballero said in the letter. “Police checked the entire school and determined there was no shooter at the school as reported and there was no threat.”
An investigation revealed that two students, both 14 years old, had taken another student’s phone and called in the false report, police reported.
Caballero said in the email that the school day would continue as scheduled “with a few revisions,” and commended the sheriff’s office for their “responsible and calm” approach to the reported threat and subsequent investigation.
Charges are pending. Filing a false report is a misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to six months of incarceration and up to a $500 fine, according to the sheriff’s office.
Anyone with more information is asked to call the sheriff’s office non-emergency line at 301-932-2222.