Damascus HS struggles to maintain calm after posted social media threat Featured

Students from Damascus High School were in panic mode Friday after an old social media threat against Damascus students had been reposted to social media sometime around noon.

“Everyone that goes to Dmas gtfo of there,” a Damascus student’s Instragram post read.

“not sure if everyone is awre but there’s apparently a kill list out and a threat to shoot up damascus. if you’re there, leave now. please be safe. ______ was apparently the one who made it,” another post read.

However, a 12:08 p.m. letter with a “Damascus High” logo titled “Rumor of a threat at DHS” was sent out to parents and guardians stating there was no real threat to students.

“We have had several parents and students reach out today to make the school aware of information regarding [a] threat to the school. We have reviewed the information and investigated and there is no credible threat to our school at this time. Students are safe and learning in our building,” an excerpt of the communication stated.

Some students left the campus while others stayed in place, but County school officials denied that Damascus High School had been evacuated. Officials at Damascus High School could not be reached Friday afternoon.

“Damascus High School was not evacuated today,” Gboyinde Onijala, a Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson wrote in an email. “We’ve been informed that an old social media threat was reposted today and a student was accused of posting it. School administration and the School Resource Officer investigated and it was confirmed that the student did not post any threatening messages on social media and there was no credible threat to the school.”

A spokesperson from Montgomery County Police said students had been moved.

“It turned out not to be anything credible,” Montgomery County Police Officer Rick Goodale said. “Damascus High School made the decision to move some kids. It was their decision alone. Police were called, but there was no credible threat discovered.”

A 10th grade Damascus student, who requested anonymity in order to share accounts of the situation, said some students and some parents thought the threat was real. 

“I was pretty scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen, neither did any of my peers in class,” the student said. “Many students left because they were scared and didn’t want to risk anything. My mom told me to stay in because the [school] thought it was a hoax.”

The student said the principal communicated with students over a speaker telling them the rumors were not true and they should not be concerned.

“He told us to stop spreading it on social media because the Montgomery County Police spoke to the kid [who allegedly posted the threat] and said nothing was going to happen today. The principal said we should remain in class because it was just rumors that were not proven.”

The student said the person thought to be responsible for the posting was considered “a little off.” However, neither the police nor MCPS officials would confirm that person’s identity.

This is the second false alarm and third threat-related incident Montgomery County high schools have experienced since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed on Wednesday.

Also on Friday, police charged a 15-year-old student from Northwest High School community in Germantown Friday with offenses related to disrupting school operation after posting a social media threat directed at the high school Friday morning.

On Thursday, an 18-year-old Clarksburg High School student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun and knife to school. Police are still trying to determine a motive for his actions.



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