Law Enforcement and School Officials Respond to Aftermath of Florida School Shooting: Request Assistance in Preventing Rumors
GREENSBORO, NC (Feb. 16, 2018) – Law enforcement officials throughout Guilford County, along with Guilford County School administrators recognize the fear and concerns stemming from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“While we hope such a tragic act of violence never occurs here, the reality is that no community is immune from these crimes,” stated Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes.
Police and educators appreciate the many students and parents who have alerted to them suspicious behavior in schools across the county, both in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting, and in years past.
“Students, parents, and school staff are often the first to be aware of potential threats to schools,” said High Point Police Chief Ken Shultz. “The information they have is critical in allowing us to launch an investigation and identify those who may wish to do us harm.”
Police want people to be quick to “See something. Say something”, and stress that the best way to do this is notify law enforcement or school officials.
Then, they ask to be given the opportunity to determine if there is any merit to the information. They caution against spreading unverified information through social media channels.
When rumors proliferate on social media, school officials and police shift their efforts to determine if there is any credibility to the information that has been posted, tweeted, or snapped. “All of us take every potential threat to our schools very seriously,” stated Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott. “We work closely with each other to quickly and thoroughly investigate these claims. We all understand the critical need to track down the source of this information and obtain facts.”
Law enforcement and school officials have strong working relationships which frequently result in identifying the person who is the source of the information. Both organizations then jointly determine an appropriate course of action based on interviews with the source and the facts of the case.
Fortunately, none of the recent posts about threats to the school safety in the county had merit. Had there been a credible, threat both law enforcement and school officials would have moved swiftly to protect students and notify the public.
“School staff, police, and deputies are all committed to providing safe learning environments for our students,” said Superintendent of Guilford County Schools Sharon L. Contreras. “Parents, too, want their children to be able to focus on their education. Let’s all commit to campus safety by continuing to report suspicious activity, and allowing it to be investigated without interfering by spreading unverified information.”