Rumor based on past event

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A rumor of a planned shooting at Northwest High School that spun ‘out of control’ Tuesday was based on a false-alarm incident the week before.

Last Monday, Oct. 15, district officials and law enforcement personnel investigated a comment made by a student and determined there was no truth to what was said, according to Northwest ISD Director of Communications Lesley Weaver.

“It was a poor choice of words used by the student,” she said.

The matter was addressed but was not made public.

“Had there been meat to the threat, then we definitely would have taken the appropriate actions whether it was a lockdown or phone call to parents,” Weaver said. “But it was determined that it was a very poor choice of words that alarmed people.

“We don’t want to alarm people every time someone uses poor judgement in the words they express,” she added. “We don’t take threats lightly. They aren’t tolerated. But it’s just like airport security. You can’t get away with saying ‘gun’ while going through security – but do they shut down the airport every time someone says the word?”

Although unsubstantiated, the rumor ‘got completely out of control’ Tuesday, prompting a schoolwide announcement and call to parents that day.

“Through investigation, authorities determined it was the threat made last week,” Weaver said. “There was no threat today. It was a rumor that got out of control. We are very confident there is no legitimacy to the threat.”

The student who made the comment has not been on campus since the threat was brought to the attention of authorities last week.

“We definitely want kids to be aware of the seriousness of the issue,” Weaver said. “They can’t make a joke about it. It is not tolerated.”

District officials request the cooperation of parents and students in thwarting the rumor.

“Parents and social media played a huge role in keeping this rumor going,” Weaver said. “We ask for their help in not creating panic and mass hysteria. If their child was ever in danger, we’d be the first to let them know.”

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