Paranoia in Boca Raton and elsewhere
From the Sun-Sentinel
BOCA RATON -- Spanish River High School phones were clogged on Thursday with calls from parents concerned about security after a male student on Wednesday pointed out people in the yearbook he liked and didn't like.What happened in Blacksburg this week was a terrible tragedy. Now will everyone please take a chill pill.
The 18-year-old student was removed from school Wednesday and will not return, said principal Constance Tuman-Rugg.
In a nation shaken to the core by a gunman at Virginia Tech who took the lives of 32 people and then himself, add Hitler's birthday and the anniversary of the Columbine High School killings on Friday.
"In the four years I've been at a high school, this happens on April 20," said Tuman-Rugg. "It's not just this year or this boy. Watching the images on TV, I do understand the parents' concerns, but we have to encourage people to separate fact from exaggeration and not panic."
Rumors continue to fly today, but nothing more than the comments about the yearbook could be documented first-hand, the principal said.
School police searched the home of the student, who is a senior, with the cooperation of this mother. Police found no evidence of danger at the home, the principal said.
"Nothing was found, no letters, no lists, nothing," Tuman-Rugg said.
Parent Crystal Palmquist of Boca Raton said her two sons begged her not to attend school on today because they fear for their safety. She said Allan, 16, and Harrison, 15, both ninth-graders, believe a threat against students is real.
They told their mother they're sure that one classmate has a list of targeted student victims.
"You can't take these things lightly," said Palmquist, who decided to keep her children home. She wants more assurances from the school that there is no danger to the students.
Extra school police are on duty at Spanish River today and tomorrow, the principal said. She made announcements at school and sent a recorded phone message to parents last night to assure families of the security of the campus.
Of the school's 2,200 students, 132 were absent today, within the usual range of 130-150, the principal said.
Why is this senior at Spanish River High not being allowed to return to school? Because of an substantiated rumor? People are overreacting. Statistics will show a school boy or girl is many times more likely to die either riding in a car(to any place, not just school) because of alcohol or to be run over while walking to school.(Something like one hundred a year nationwide I once read. I can't find the link) Does anyone pay attention to those facts? I guess fear is going to reign for a while.
Update- The Palm Beach Post has more on the same story.
A Spanish River High student is banned from campus after authorities said he made death threat remarks directed at Jewish students earlier this week.
Spanish River High Principal Constance Tuman-Rugg said in a voice mail to parents on Tuesday that police have searched the student's home and found no list of students nor any weapons. The student has not been arrested, and the police investigation is closed.
In the message, Tuman-Rugg also acknowledged the heightened security concerns following this week's mass shooting at Virginia Tech University and Friday's anniversary of the Columbine attack. She also promised to put additional officers at the school on Friday.
But school and district officials aren't releasing any details of the incident or the student's name, prompting rumors to circulate and frustrating many parents who suspect the school is trying to cover up a serious problem.
What happened in Boca makes a little more sense now. Bottom line- People are being paranoid.
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