Sand Springs Police, School Officials Ask Parents To Trust Them
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - Just rumors of a gunman at school, spread on social media, were enough to keep a third of the students at Clyde Boyd Middle School in Sand Springs home Friday.
But police say there was never any evidence that anyone at the school was in danger.
The rumor of the threat came Thursday night, but in the world of social media, both police and school administrators say it snowballed quickly into something larger.
The school day had just begun, when parents at Clyde Boyd Middle School showed up to pull their kids from class.
"It's been a disruptive day, for all the wrong reasons, in my humble opinion," said Superintendent Lloyd Snow.
Snow said as many as 400 students went home after hearing that one of their classmates had talked about bringing a gun to school.
The report came in after a student told his mom about a conversation he'd overheard in the hallway on Thursday.
"We had a lot of parents that had some misinformation, so the story then kind of grew from there that was lockdowns and people with guns and all sorts of things, so parents started pulling their kids from school," said Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter.
Carter said he and the school checked into the threat, but found it wasn't credible.
He was so certain that he sent his own children to the middle school.
"I put my money where my mouth is, and more importantly, put something that's the nearest and dearest to me, and that's my own children, in that school, because I trust what we'd found out," Carter said.
Snow said parents panicked when another TV station reported the threat, despite being told by the school and police that there was no merit to the report.
He said it's understandable that parents are concerned, especially after Sandy Hook.
"Without in the least bit sounding trite, with that horrible tragedy in Connecticut, schools are safe. We work at that and we'll continue to work at that," Snow said.
And while the district looks into every report of a threat, Snow said it would get out of hand if they were to fire the alarms each time the word "gun" was uttered in the hallway.
"We're working hard and we need our parents to understand, if there's a potential threat of substance, we're not gonna leave them in the dark," Snow said.
Both Superintendent Snow and Police said that parent did the right thing by reporting what her child had heard at school.
The district has a system in place to alert parents if there is a safety concern, and if a situation warrants it, they will be alerted.