Tensions high at Eden Prairie H.S. after social media threats

11:44 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - There is an increased police presence at Eden Prairie High School Thursday after a rift between students was inflamed by social media threats and rumors.

Parents became concerned after seeing a number of squad cars while dropping off students or hearing from them about the increased police presence.

Principal Conn McCartan sent home a message to families Thursday morning explaining the sequence of events that led to a stepped-up police presence in the building. He says something led to tensions between some students about messages posted on Twitter.

While investigating the incident officials became aware of a rumor about a student bringing a gun to school. School liaison officers discovered that a student overheard something that wasn't related to the school dispute but by that time the rumor mill on social media was already in overdrive.

McCartan insists that investigators have found nothing to suggest the existence of a threat to students or staff.

Below is the statement Eden Prairie's Principal sent to parents.  

Dear EPHS parents:

I want to let you know about an issue we dealt with at the high school on Wednesday, March 6, and the rumors that grew out of the situation last night and were subsequently shared through social media among students and parents. I want you to have the facts of the situation.

On Wednesday, we became aware of some tensions between some high school students about messages that were posted on Twitter. We investigated the situation during the day. There were no major incidents on Wednesday related to this issue. As part of the investigation we also heard a rumor from a student about a threat of a gun being brought to school. We then involved our police liaison officers to investigate and discovered that what a student overheard was not related to the situation or to a gun being brought to school. By the end of the day on Wednesday, we believe that we satisfactorily dealt with the situation.

The problem we are now facing is that this story is being passed around the same social media that created the issue. While we need to hear from students about what is happening at the high school, it is challenging when the situation gets inflamed when rumors are shared through social media among students and parents.

We are aware of the high volume of social media statements that have raised concerns. We are pursuing all of them and will continue to do so as we are able. At this point, nothing of a threatening nature has been substantiated.

As always, the administration at the high school will be extremely vigilant today and will work with our staff and police liaison officers to help our students handle the situation productively. In addition, there will be an increased police presence at the high school to help everyone feel safe. I would encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns. We appreciate your continued support.

Conn McCartan
EPHS Principal


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