Howard County school officials said they have learned of “viral social media rumors referencing violence in schools on Friday” — and those rumors have not been deemed credible.
Howard County police said the social media rumors the school district is referring to are “end of the world” rumors (a much-publicized myth linked to the supposed end date of the Mayan calendar which NASA has debunked.)
School officials said they are working with Howard County police officers, and said all rumors and threats will be “taken seriously and fully investigated.”
In a note to parents, school officials asked that children be “responsible citizens,” which includes social media conduct.
“We ask parents and guardians to continue to emphasize the importance of not spreading rumors and notifying adults of any inappropriate social media they receive,” according to the email sent to parents from Howard County schools Thursday.
Enhanced police presence will continue at Howard County schools Friday, an action that was taken following the Sandy Hook shootings, officials said.
School administrators across the county have been informing parents about the rumors.
"I have heard that there is a rumor that Friday (tomorrow) may lead to some misbehavior on the part of students,” wrote Marriotts Ridge Principal Adrianne Kaufman in an email to parents. “Whether it is because of last Friday's events in Connecticut, the Mayan calendar rumors about tomorrow, or high energy around the holidays is not important. What is important is that I want you to know that we have a comprehensive security plan at Marriotts Ridge High School to help keep everyone safe and able to learn.”
Elementary schools are also managing the situation for Friday’s school day.
Nancy Thompson, the principal at Talbott Springs Elementary school in Columbia, said that her school would not be participating in the moment of silence being promoted for Friday for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
“I believe that the parents of TSES students have done an incredible job working with children in minimizing exposure to coverage of this event and talking with children about their feelings related to this event,” she wrote. “In the spirit that some parents have chosen to either not share any information, or to share limited information with their children, Talbott Springs Elementary not be participating in the moment of silence as a school.”
Schools across the country are also responding to rumors and threats regarding Friday's doomsday rumors and myths.
In Michigan, more than 30 schools will be closing for the holidays early, in part because of the doomsday “rumors,” which are adding to fears already there due to last week’s Sandy Hook shooting, according to NBCnews.com
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