TEMPERANCE -- Unsubstantiated reports of a “police SWAT team” entering several Bedford Public School buildings prompted alarmed parents to pull children from classes and flood school offices with anxious calls today.
What actually was happening is that Monroe County Sheriff's deputies were visiting schools to reassure students that they are safe, said Superintendent Jon White.
School officials believe the rumors that there may be trouble brewing began after some students noticed police and texted parents with the information. The police visit, coupled with the arrest this week of a Monroe teen who is accused of threatening to set fire to his school, only added fuel to the Bedford rumors.
“This is a case where social media had taken over,” said Mr. White. “We’ve had no threats. Everything is as normal as can be.”
School officials were not sure how many students were taken out of classes by parents today.
The community alarm in Bedford prompted Mr. White today to send an e-mail to all parents in the district assuring them that all was well.
Bedford school officials beefed up school security this week after the Monroe incident and in the wake of Friday’s rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
All school entrances are now locked and school staff and parent volunteers guard all building entrances, school officials said. All visitors must show picture identification and sign-in at buildings.
Wild, unsubstantiated rumors today also induced the Monroe Public Schools to cancel classes on Friday.
Spokesman Robert Vergiels said the rumors, which he did not detail, have been exhaustively investigated and nothing was found to substantiate them.
He said district officials decided to cancel classes when they realized attendance would be significantly reduced because of anxiety over the rumors.
The Michigan Department of Education will decide if the lost instructional day will have to be made up.
Contact Federico Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6154.
Reporter Carl Ryan contributed to this report.
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