Update: Largo High Investigates Rumors of Violence Connected to Mayan Calendar

Pinellas Schools continue to look into reported rumors of potential violence connected to the Mayan calendar, but no credible threats have been found at this time, schools report.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m., Dec. 20):

Although there are no credible threats, as a precaution Pinellas County Schools will increase patrols by local law enforcement agencies around campuses due to rumors of potential violence connected to the end of the Mayan calendar on Friday, Dec. 21, according to school officials. 

The increased security will be in place to make students and parents feel more secure, said schools spokeswoman Melanie Marquez.

Authorities may have found one source of the rumors, which have circulated by Facebook and other social media, Marquez said.

Some Largo High School parents received an email from the school, which read in part:

"The county just sent an email saying that, with the help of the authorities, they have tracked down the sources of these rumors through Facebook and other social media.  The school board and the authorities are taking action on the perpetrators."

Marquez said, she was only aware of one source being found and she did not know additional information.

The decision whether or not school absences are excused on Dec. 21, is being handled at the school level, Marquez said.

Marquez said Friday would be a normally scheduled school day.

ORIGINAL POST (9:05 a.m., Dec. 20):

Pinellas County Schools including Largo High School continue to investigate rumors of potential violence at schools on Friday, connected to the end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21.

A robo call reportedly went out to some Largo High School parents Wednesday night regarding the rumors, which have circulated primarily through social media about possible harm to students or gun violence on Dec. 21. No credible threats have been found at this time, according to the message.

Pinellas students started reporting on Monday and Tuesday rumors of potential violence mostly associated with the end of the Mayan calendar, although students reportedly started hearing the rumors last week. But the Connecticut shooting on Friday, raised students' level of awareness and apparently caused them to report what they were hearing, said schools spokeswoman Melanie Marquez.

Pinellas County School superintendent Mike Grego sent an email to principals on Tuesday, which said in part that school officials were taking the threats seriously, but no credible threats had been found at this time.

Largo schools, like all Pinellas County Schools, have a security plan in place to cover crisis situations.

The automated call, which went out to Largo High parents said:

"We have heard from the district that some students have reported a rumor, mostly circulated through social media, that there may be harm to students or gun violence at their respective schools on Friday, December 21, 2012. Law enforcement agencies and administrators are investigating these rumors to determine their origin and assess their validity. No credible threats have been found at this time.

There are news reports of similar rumors circulating among students at schools elsewhere in Florida and the nation. Some reports associate the rumors with the purported end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012. Please be assured that we are taking every report seriously and doing everything we can to ensure student safety. If any credible threat is found, those involved will face appropriate disciplinary action at the school level and/or criminal charges as determined by law enforcement.

Some rumors began last week prior to the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. After learning of the tragedy, students began reporting the rumors to school administrators yesterday and today. Parents have also contacted school administrators with information they received from their children. Any student or parent that comes forward with information that could help ensure the safety of their school should be commended.

If you receive reports of these rumors at your school, please involve your School Resource Officer or contact Pinellas Schools Police at (727) 547-7221. Law enforcement officers may increase their presence in and around schools this week due to these rumors.

If we receive further information that may help you, we will send it to you. I can promise you - Largo High School is doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of our scholars.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter - - have a great rest of your day."

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Leroy A Haggard December 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM
It is Christmas time and 28 people, women and children, were murdered. Now talk of violence.l What has gone wrong with society or has it aleways been lilke it is now where we talk of nothing eldse than to arm ourseleves with weapons. Somehow opening a gift under a Christmas tree of an automatic weapon does not seem right
Mila December 21, 2012 at 06:44 PM
My mother works at Largo High School and my father came to pick her up from work today and her phone is off and the school is on lockdown.. is everything okay? Does anyone else have any further information that can help me to find out if my mother is ok?
Melissa Lattman December 21, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I called the county school office and they were not aware of a lockdown and the school is over for the today. Let us know if you hear anything else.


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