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'Absolutely Nothing' to Rumored Threats against Spring Lake Park High School

Classes will go on as scheduled. Threats keyed to Dec. 21 Mayan 'Doomsday' are affecting other districts too, police said. Read the District 16 message to parents.

A threat Thursday against Spring Lake Park High School "was evaluated and is no threat," according to District 16 school board vice chair John Stroebel.

The district used its rapid response system to send emails and automated phone calls to parents, he said, with the message that the threat was "more a rumor ... more hoax than anything."

See the District 16 email message below.

Schools will be open as scheduled Friday, he said: "Everything's normal."

Police 'Well Aware'
A Spring Lake Park Police Department spokesman confirmed the threat.

"We're well aware of it," he said. "It's not really anything substantial ... that anything's going to happen."

The department had received about five calls, he said. "Tomorrow is 'Doomsday,' and all over the national news, schools around the nation are cancelling classes [because of threats]."

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Other Districts
Locally, he said, threats seemed to have "started up in Blaine" and are "flowing south through Spring Lake Park and Fridley."

(Fridley Public Schools begin their winter break on Friday, with no classes scheduled.)

Another district that like Spring Lake Park determined a threat to be actually no threat is Northfield, MN (see Northfield Patch: Police Investigate Possible Threat Made Against Northfield High School and Middle School in 'Secure Mode' for Remainder of Friday). And to the north, three St. Cloud schools are limiting hallway activity Friday.

District 16 Message
Here is the text of the email message from District 16. It begins with an introduction sent to families with children at all district schools. Then below the line is the original message sent to Spring Lake Park High School families.

Dear Parents and Guardians-  Throughout the country schools are dealing with rumors that seem to have an origin with the Mayan calendar end of world prophesy. At the high school today, staff dealt with some as well. These rumors can spread, and for that reason we want to share with you a message that high school administration sent this afternoon to high school families and students: 

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students of Spring Lake Park High School,

I want to inform you of some rumors that have circulated about our high school last night and today. Rumors have circulated that threatened violence at our school on Friday, December 21, 2012.  

I want to share with you that the rumors have been thoroughly investigated and we have found absolutely nothing that substantiates any of these rumors. I am confident that our school is safe for our students. I want to assure you that we take each and every rumor—on this or any other day—very seriously and continue to investigate each and every rumor thoroughly.  

We will continue to be vigilant each and every day to ensure student safety throughout our building. This includes working in cooperation with our police resource officer, and our student support services staff. As always, I encourage you to speak with your student to encourage them to report any personal safety concerns to their counselor or an administrator. We will follow up on any rumor or any concern that would involve the safety of anyone.  

Sincerely,
Jane Stevenson, Principal

Students Encouraged to Report Rumors
District 16 spokesperson Jim Elert explained the district's approach by email Thursday night.

They were only rumors, which students are encouraged to bring forward. Throughout the day the school was successful in tracking the rumors down, and they were thoroughly investigated. The result was that there was nothing consistent, reliable, or substantiated, including rumors that turned out to be from another school. The school wanted parents to be aware that they were dealing with concerns in a serious and thorough manner, and that school would be ready to welcome students into a safe school environment. This email and voice mail message was sent at the end of the day Thursday.

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