Given two recent Baltimore County Public Schools gun incidents, school system officials aren't surprised the community is on edge. But they urge caution against taking stock in unsubstantiated rumors.
"People need to be aware that we're aware of what's going on out there," said Charles Herndon, a school system spokesman. "We're living in the information age, so there's a lot of information out there but that doesn't mean all of it's accurate."
As first reported by The Baltimore Sun, Lansdowne Middle School was evacuated for about 15 to 20 minutes Thursday morning following a bomb threat. Police investigated the threat after Lansdowne school staff notified the school's system main office.
"We will take every threat seriously," Herndon said.
Additionally, rumors about a gun at Dundalk and Kenwood high schools circulated through social media Thursday. Since the gun incidents, county officials have asked the public to report any comments on social media that hint at violence in schools. Herndon said investigation revealed no truth to these claims, and students were not evacuated.
"A lot of time people see Facebook posts in the nature of 'I heard from a friend that has a brother at Catonsville High,' and it spreads" he said, referring to initial false reports that stated a police-involved shooting in Catonsville happened at the high school.
The school year got off to a somber start for the Baltimore County Public Schools community after a special needs student was seriously injured in a late-August shooting at Perry Hall High School. Two weeks later, a 13-year-old eighth grade student threatened his teacher and classmates with a gun at Stemmers Run Middle School on Tuesday.
"We understand that after such incidents people will be particularly vigilant," Herndon said.