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Rumor of ‘violent act’ at KGHS unfounded

Rumor of ‘violent act’ at KGHS unfounded - Investigation continues
Superintendent Rob Benson is addressing fears for student safety in King George in the wake of so-far unfounded rumors circulating about a ‘violent act’ said to be planned for Dec. 21 at King George High School (KGHS).

Benson sent a message this week on Monday morning to parents and division staff who have signed up for a ‘School Messenger’ service.

In it, he referred to the horrific elementary school shootings last Friday in Connecticut and stated, “First, we are all coping with the terrible events of last Friday and I know our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community of Sandy Hook. Please know that in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, Sheriff Dempsey and many of his deputies will be providing an increased presence in and near all of our schools this week. Their presence is not meant to alarm but rather to reassure all of us as we do our best to maintain a safe and productive week of learning for our students.  In addition to our cooperation with the Sheriff’s office, our schools are reviewing their security and safety procedures to include frequent walks around the school.”

In regard to the rumor specific to KGHS, Benson stated, “Second, King George High School and our county’s Sheriff’s office has been pursuing a rumor of a violent act to occur on the same date as the end of the Mayan calendar, Friday December 21. After two weeks of investigation, there has been no information discovered that lends any credibility to the allegation. I want to assure our entire community that we have and will continue to take any threat to our students’ and staffs’ safety seriously and pursue those responsible for initiating or perpetuating such a disturbing claim.”

In closing, Benson added, “I appreciate everyone’s understanding and support through this difficult time.  Our schools are filled with caring professionals and leaders who are keeping your child’s safety the greatest priority.  As always, feel free to contact your school’s principal directly if you need assistance.”

At about the same time on Monday, a shorter KGAlert message went out to those signed up for school alerts, saying, “In response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, KG Sheriff’s Office is providing extra presence in and near schools this week.”  

Benson told The Journal over the weekend that division officials continue to take the rumor information very seriously, with school administrators and the Sheriff’s department continuing to investigate all leads gleaned.
“We continue to pursue it,” Benson said, adding there is no credible evidence for any basis in fact. “All leads are being pursued and have led to nothing.”

That was also noted in a memo to School Board members last Friday.

Benson said of the Sheriff’s department, “They have conducted numerous precautionary interviews with students and parents. I also know that Sheriff’s deputies have made a couple of home visits as part of their ongoing investigation.”

Benson added, “We are encouraged that nothing substantial has been found or learned over the last several days that would lend any credibility to the rumor.”

Benson also noted that a letter was disseminated via the division’s ‘School Messenger’ service last Friday from the KGHS principal and also given to students to take home to parents addressing the unfounded rumor in regard to KGHS.

The letter can be found on The Journal’s Facebook page.

 

Phyllis Cook

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