Rumors spread quickly...but no threat was ever made to Wentzvill - KMOV.com

Rumors spread quickly...but no threat was ever made to Wentzville school

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WENTZVILLE, Mo. (KMOV.com) – The Wentzville School District is asking parents to speak with their children about the dangers of spreading rumors after one circulated regarding a threatening social media post.

The school district said last week they were made aware of a student making threats to Timberland High School. District officials said they were notified of a social media post that referenced “a bad day” and caused concern among parents and teachers following the school shooting in Florida.

A father, who wished to remain anonymous, received a text about the threat from his daughter around 10 p.m. 

The [text said] someone had posted on social media that they were holding a gun and it said Florida part two," he said. 

When the father began couldn't reach the school and he decided to pick his daughter.

"Lots of kids being taken out of school by parents since we weren't getting info from school," he said. "If they sent something out saying we're aware of threat and police brought in then we would have thought better about it and would have let our daughter stay today."

District officials then spoke with the student involved and said they found "no evidence of a threat" and that the post was made before the Florida school shooting. Since speaking with the student, district officials said rumors of what was posted have “morphed into something that we have not been able to verify.”

Police were notified of the rumors and began an investigation. During the investigation, officials said no one reported seeing the threatening post but said they heard there was one.

Wentzville Superintendent Curtis Cain said officials worked hard to address the rumors in a factual matter to make sure the community was aware of the facts. Cain said he understands the parent's concerns about safety in wake of the Florida shootings last week.

"We've got to continue to work to drill down to hard facts and not simply responding to rumor, " Cain said."I fully get why folks are nervous today. We have to act upon verified, valid information."

“We hope this is an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with students reminding them that as valuable as social media can be in terms of timely communication, it can also serve as a vehicle to spread misinformation that can be harmful and have far reaching consequences,” read a portion of a Facebook post from the district Tuesday morning. “We encourage you to talk with your child and your students about being positive consumers of information and being responsible for what they view and share via social media. We ask that you also speak to them about the dangers of spreading rumors that only serve to heighten fears and speculation.”

District officials said safety is their number one concern and they are “confident that this is a case of a rumor that had no basis yet spread quickly through.”

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