OASD: No Truth to Reports of Planned School Attack

By Matt Hicks

OASD: No Truth to Reports of Planned School Attack

December 20, 2012 Updated Dec 20, 2012 at 10:18 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Owego NY (WBNG Binghamton) In light of several unsubstantiated rumors about a planned attack at Owego Free Academny, school leaders have issued a statement, saying the rumors are untrue.

The following is a statement from Owego-Apalaching School District Superintendent Dr. Bill Russell:

Over the past 24 hours, rumors have circulated on Facebook and throughout the community regarding a perceived threat to Owego Free Academy and our students. The rumor included a specific date on which an event was supposed to occur (Friday, December 21).

The rumor stemmed from a report that a student had a notebook with drawings of automatic weapons and maps of the school. School officials asked to see the notebook, reviewed its contents, and met with the student and the student’s parents. We have also reviewed the situation with the Owego Police Department, the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department, and the New York State Police.

The notebook was reviewed by several administrators (myself; Bernie Dolan, associate superintendent; Heath Georgia, OFA principal), and other staff, including the school psychologist (Dr. Mary Sue Rose) and guidance counselors at OFA (Tom Westcott and Kim Hahne). We determined that the notebook did not contain a threat of any kind. More specifically, there were no lists of students or staff in the notebook, and there were no maps of any of the schools or other buildings in the OA district, (both rumors currently circulating on Facebook).

Other rumors have alleged: there was an arrest (not true); the student possessed a gun (not true); the student has been suspended from school (not true); and, that this student threatened to come to school Friday and shoot people (again, not true). Given the widespread rumors, the student has elected to not attend school until after the break.

To repeat – the school district is not aware of any credible threat to the safety of students and staff at OFA. But because of the manner in which rumors have spread across social media and multiple communities, creating uncertainty and tension among many in light of the tragedy in Connecticut, there will be a local law enforcement presence at OFA throughout the school day Friday (December 21).

This is strictly a precautionary measure meant to help ease people's minds and to make sure we are taking every measure to alleviate any fears.

The statement has also been posted on the school district's website and facebook page.

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