UPDATE: Police Dispel Rumors at Albemarle High School

December 19, 2012

Some students say the rumors started two weeks ago and they refer to a violent event happening on Friday, December 21st because it is the supposed end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar.

Principal Jay Thomas explained the situation via YouTube video to students and staff, then sent the video with a letter home to parents. Some parents say that was not enough for them and they felt very much in the dark, without any details about the rumors.

Jenny Pritchett, Albemarle High School mother, says she will not be sending her three kids to school on Friday.

"I just feel like there was no connection. All I could do was ask my kids what happened at school today. Especially after last Friday, don't keep us parents in the blank, we're supposed to be a community who works through these things together. I just feel like there was no education to parents on what happened, the video was addressed to the kids and not to parents," Pritchett said.

According to police a rumor about violence planned for Albemarle High School is making the rounds.

Police are taking the rumors seriously and are putting more officers on patrol inside and outside every school in the county.

Detectives have been following leads as to the source of the rumors, but have not found anything.

On Wednesday the principal sent a statement to the school community, stating the following:

"First I want to assure you we take these reports seriously. We have worked closely with Albemarle County Police to thoroughly investigate each report. This is normal procedure. In this case we have found absolutely no basis to believe that any of the reports are anything other than a rumor."

Albemarle County Police say they will continue to keep an eye on the rumors throughout the week.

Below is the official statement from Albemarle County Police.
_____________________________________________________

The Albemarle County Police Department and Albemarle County Schools are working together to investigate a rumor involving a disruptive event at Albemarle High School. As a result of these rumors, we are also providing additional patrols in and around all schools in Albemarle County.

At this point, we do not have any specific information that would lead us to believe these rumors are credible. However, we are talking to students who say they have heard about these rumors. Any time we hear a rumor of this nature; we take it very seriously and commit significant resources to determine the source of the information and the potential for violence. Detectives are currently looking into leads and talking to students who might have more information.

In a case like this, School Resource Officers are a vital part of our investigation, as they know the school, students and staff. The officers are there to promote safety within the school buildings. This is an example of how their presence leads to proactive policing. They also provide guidance, counseling and serve as role models for the students. The SROs monitor the activities of our youth and watch for potential problems.

In today’s climate, it is important for students to understand that we take all rumors and threats seriously. As a nation, we are in a healing process from the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. When rumors like this circulate, it has an impact on the student body, parents, community members and public safety resources. School leaders are committed to keeping students and staff safe in their learning environments. We support them in this effort and want the community to know that we have heard these rumors, we are investigating and we will respond appropriately to ensure safety.


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