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Schools Cautious As Post-Sandy Hook ‘End of World 2012’ Rumors Circulate

Howard county schools are asking students to be responsible on social media.

Howard County school officials said they have learned of “viral social media rumors referencing violence in schools on Friday” — and those rumors have not been deemed credible.

Howard County police said the social media rumors the school district is referring to are “end of the world” rumors (a much-publicized myth linked to the supposed end date of the Mayan calendar which NASA has debunked.)

School officials said they are working with Howard County police officers, and said all rumors and threats will be “taken seriously and fully investigated.”

In a note to parents, school officials asked that children be “responsible citizens,” which includes social media conduct.

“We ask parents and guardians to continue to emphasize the importance of not spreading rumors and notifying adults of any inappropriate social media they receive,” according to the email sent to parents from Howard County schools Thursday.

Enhanced police presence will continue at Howard County schools Friday, an action that was taken following the Sandy Hook shootings, officials said.

School administrators across the county have been informing parents about the rumors.

"I have heard that there is a rumor that Friday (tomorrow) may lead to some misbehavior on the part of students,” wrote Marriotts Ridge Principal Adrianne Kaufman in an email to parents. “Whether it is because of last Friday's events in Connecticut, the Mayan calendar rumors about tomorrow, or high energy around the holidays is not important. What is important is that I want you to know that we have a comprehensive security plan at Marriotts Ridge High School to help keep everyone safe and able to learn.”

Elementary schools are also managing the situation for Friday’s school day.

Nancy Thompson, the principal at Talbott Springs Elementary school in Columbia, said that her school would not be participating in the moment of silence being promoted for Friday for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

“I believe that the parents of TSES students have done an incredible job working with children in minimizing exposure to coverage of this event and talking with children about their feelings related to this event,” she wrote. “In the spirit that some parents have chosen to either not share any information, or to share limited information with their children, Talbott Springs Elementary not be participating in the moment of silence as a school.”

Schools across the country are also responding to rumors and threats regarding Friday's doomsday rumors and myths.

In Michigan, more than 30 schools will be closing for the holidays early, in part because of the doomsday “rumors,” which are adding to fears already there due to last week’s Sandy Hook shooting, according to NBCnews.com

See related content

Speak Out: What Would You Do On Your Last Day On Earth?

County Schools Cautious After Sandy Hook Shooting 

10 Things I'll Wish I had Done in Carroll County if the World Ends Friday

Peter Monaghan December 20, 2012 at 08:54 PM
"Responsible", "Social Media" & "students" in the same sentence? Who has such audacity? :-)
Eric S. December 20, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Ok, the doomsday stuff was funny a few years ago, now it's just done. Seriously, the Mayans updated that calendar anyway, and regardless, it's like freaking out that it's Dec. 31, 1999 (disregarding the Y2K bug hysteria of course). Second, if the media simply reported Sandy Hook, Aurora, VA Tech, that fort in Texas, Columbine, etc. so sensationally, we wouldn't have nearly so many nutjobs thinking that shooting up a crowded space would make them famous. Third, stupid crap hits the internet all the time. See my first point. Fourth, I grew up in Michigan. It's likely that getting out early could be any of the following -- bumper crop of deer this year and teachers want to hunt, no money in the budget, serious storm predictions, lack of snow meaning they can sneak in a teacher's mental health day, and finally, actual fear of some Devil's Night type mania. All of that said, this local warning of "Hey, this may happen, let's talk to kids and parents and cut it off early" is actually fairly responsible. Good job.
Julixa Newman December 20, 2012 at 09:37 PM
The fact that you are telling your readers that the Mayan calendar "end of the world" theory was debunked and that we should all be responsible really goes out the door when you scroll down the article and see a link to : "Speak Out: What Would You Do On Your Last Day On Earth" Come on!!!
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