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Posted: Thursday, 01 May 2014 10:15AM

Reported threat of school shooting on the Northshore had parents up all night



It was a difficult night for parents with kids at Madisonville Junior High School.

"There's been text messages and emails that started around midnight," one parent told WWL First News.  "(They are) saying, 'Keep your kids home from school.' "

He says it was triggered by rumors of a planned school shooting.   Word was spreading earlier at a local ball park and on social media as well.  He says parents were up until three o' clock in the morning and later talking about it and trying to figure out what to do.

St. Tammany Schools Spokeswoman Meredith Mendez says educators also learned of the rumors.

"In the middle of the night, Madisonville Junior High School administrators received information about two students who allegedly made threats toward other students," she explained.  "Administrators immediately contacted law enforcement."

She says those students will not be returning to Madisonville Junior High until the investigation is complete.

"We continue to work closely with law enforcement officers, and will be taking all of the necessary... action to ensure the safety of everyone at the school," Mendez told WWL First News.  "We take all threats, whether real or a hoax, very seriously."

She says they initiated a robocall to all of the parents today and are sending a letter home with students.  (A copy of the letter is below.)

Mendez says the school opened as usual this morning, and it is "a normal day there today."

These types of situations have been happening at various schools more frequently with information and rumors spreading more quickly than ever with social media, text messages and other forms of communication.  

It presents challenging situations for parents, administrators and police as they react to quickly spreading threats, rumors and hoaxes and try to determine which are real and which are not.

Here is the letter going home today with students at Madisonville Junior High School...

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

    This letter is to inform you that Madisonville Junior High School administrators received information about two students who allegedly made threats toward other students.  Administrators immediately contacted law enforcement authorities and began an investigation.  These two students will not be returning to out school pending the completion of a full investigation.

    We continue to work closely with the law enforcement officers, and will be taking all necessary disciplinary actions to ensure the safety at our school.  We take all threats, whether real or a hoax, very seriously.

    We are dedicated to our efforts to maintain a safe, secure and productive learning environment at Madisonville Junior High School.  If you have any questions or concerns about this situation, please contact me at school at 845-3355.  Thank you for your support of our students and our school.

                        Sincerely,

                        Dwayne Kern
                        Principal

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