Gaithersburg Police will continue to maintain a police presence at Gaithersburg High School all day Tuesday after concerned parents and students reported a possible threat to the school over the Presidents’ Day holiday.
The police deployment represents the fourth threat-related incident at a Montgomery County high school in the days following the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., during which a former student killed 17 people with a high-powered rifle.
“Yes, there was a rumor going around of a possible threat to the high school,” said Gaithersburg Police Officer Dan Lane, a department spokesperson. “As a result of it, detectives did investigate the threat to see if it was credible or not.”
The threat, Lane said, came in the form of a social media posting, though he admitted that he had not seen the posting in question.
“I’ve just seen the text message sent to a group of people stating that there’s possibly going to be an incident at the high school,” he said. “As a result for a concern of staff and students, we have increased police presence here. We have been there all morning.”
Although the threat was of sufficient concern to Gaithersburg Police officials to cause them to maintain a police presence at the school throughout the day, Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson Derek Turner dismissed the possible threat as an unsubstantiated rumor.
“There is no social media threat,” Turner said. “This is a rumor of a rumor of a rumor. Police are being extra cautious of a threat. Right now, we don’t have any report of a social media threat. The good news is that people are following the adage, ‘if you see something, something.’”
In a Monday letter to Gaithersburg H.S. parents and guardians GHS Principal Dr. Christine Handy maintained that the threat was not credible and stressed that students should report to school as usual Tuesday.
“We have had several parents and students reach out today to make the school aware of information regarding alleged threats to the school,” Handy wrote. “In conjunction with the Montgomery County Police Department, we are reviewing and investigating the information provided. At this time, there is no credible threat to our school. Students should come to school tomorrow prepared to learn.”