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"Just a rumor, but school ups security"

"On the day that marked the one-year anniversary of the school shootings in Columbine, Colo., the rumor of a threat of violence at South Whidbey High School had administrators answering concerned phone calls and tightening security.Mike Johnson, principal, said a student told a member of the school's staff that he would not attend class Thursday because he had heard a rumor about a possible threat of violence against high school students. Taking the student seriously, Johnson said school staff tried to trace the rumor by speaking to other students who knew of it. They quickly found that there was no basis to the rumor.Staff also took steps to help students feel safe, even as the rumor spread through the school. Teachers were given memos describing the rumor and were asked to share that information with their classes. On the off chance that there was something to the rumor, Johnson also asked the Island County Sheriff's Office to send several deputies to the school. The deputies stayed on campus throughout the school day Friday.We're going to err on the side of safety, Johnson said.School office staff fielded a number of phone calls about the rumor, Johnson said. Those answering told the callers that no actual threat was made toward the school or its students."

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