Montgomery County Police are investigating a series of alleged threats received at local high schools in the last week – ranging from bomb threats to potential shootings.
The threats to public schools come at a time of heightened focus on school security in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. where 17 people were killed.
Last week a school resource officer assigned to Clarksburg High School received a tip alleging that a student was in possession of a loaded firearm at school. Officers quickly located the student and confiscated the weapon. A subsequent search of that student’s home this week revealed an arsenal of weaponry including an AR-15-style rifle.
“The School Resource Officer (SRO) program is key in handling initial complaints of a possible threat to school safety,” Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said in an email statement. “There is a significant level of trust between school staff and the SROs. This trust helps bring about good cooperation and communication between the students and the SROs.”
Meanwhile, tensions were heightened at Damascus High School due to the reposting of a social media threat this week.
Social media posts also spurred an increased police presence Tuesday at Gaithersburg High School, when Gaithersburg Police responded to a possible school attack threat made on Presidents’ Day.
Police also say a student from Northwest High School posted replicas of firearms on social media, and some students believed a shooting was imminent.
“The Northwest student posted photos of replica firearms and some people took that as a threat,” Police spokesman Paul Starks said. “He posted on social media and was charged under Maryland law for disrupting school activities.”
Police are encouraging students and parents to continue to be vigilant by reporting suspicious activity.
“Most kids today know the importance of reporting potential harmful behavior to responsible adults,” Manger said.