Colquitt County schools return to normal -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Colquitt County schools return to normal

April 23, 2007

Moultrie -- Colquitt County students returned to schools Monday with no problems. Friday thousands of students checked out of school early because of rumors of violence. Administrators say they wanted Monday to be just another normal day at school.

About 20 minutes before the first class was to start at Colquitt County High School, the front entrance was filled with students talking and laughing, school buses letting off their loads, and parents dropping off their children.

Most said Friday's community alarm about rumored violence was over-reaction. Parent Annette Brown said "I think it just got out of hand. Too much cell phone use. That's one thing that does need to be controlled at school."

Thursday the news that a ninth grade girl had posted an internet message glorifying the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech spread across the community. By Friday the rumor was that someone was going on a shooting spree at the high school.  Principal Bob Jones said "kids text one another, there's a cell phone here or there. And it'll just spiral out of control."

 1500 students checked out of the high school, 475 from the middle schools Friday as the rumors grew, disrupting much of the community.

 Monday, assured that the rumors were just rumors, attendance was back to normal. School administrators decided not to have a big show of police presence or community leaders Monday, but to make it just another normal school day, except for the warnings about any false alarms again. Superintendent Leonard McCoy said "our actions will be severe for those that alarm others. This is not something that can be tolerated in these days and time. It can't be written off."

 McCoy says they will use Friday as a learning opportunity, to better prepare in case of any emergency. Most parents we talked to say they have renewed confidence in their school leaders." Parent Zell Daniels said "when I found out actually what was going on, I actually was happy with how they handled it."

 But school administrators say they are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Superintendent McCoy said the 9th grader who posted the internet message continues to be held out of school pending a hearing. So far Police have not charged her criminally.

Investigators are still looking into a bomb threat called to a Colquitt County middle school Friday.