BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Students and parents across Maryland have dealt with an alarming number of school scares this month.
Baltimore School for the Arts had to remove a student after a threat Thursday, while MacArthur Middle School in Anne Arundel County, investigated after a student made a threat. Officials say the student wasn’t in school and there is no danger.
“People were kind of panicking a little bit because everybody’s still a little raw from what happened,” Baltimore School for the Arts student Joey Schuman said.
From the student who brought a pellet gun to Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, to a cache of weapons discovered in Saint Mary’s County, after two high school students were overheard talking about how easy it would be to pull off a shooting.
“In this case someone heard something, they said something,” said Saint Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron.
This week, there were threats against two Harford County high schools, both ultimately deemed unfounded.
The schools made automated calls to parents and warned about the rumors spreading on social media.
In Carroll County, police investigated a threat at Francis Scott Key High School and found it was not credible. About a third of the students stayed home Wednesday, and an email went out to parents that morning.
“A whole bunch of kids are trying to prove themselves–copycats–parents should be worried nowadays,” said Baltimore City Schools parent Watson Ervin. “If you see something report it. If you’re not sure what it was report it anyway because silence can be deadly nowadays.”
So far this year, three loaded weapons have been found on city school campuses.
Montgomery County schools have dealt with a rash of threats–including a high school student arrested for bringing a loaded gun to a high school–police found more weapons and ammo and a ballistic vest inside his home.
“His stories about why he possessed that weapon varied,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
No one was injured in any of the incidents.
Security experts say it’s crucial to report threats, but be alert for false rumors that can spread panic.
“It’s now possible online to make all sorts of threats online that the internet can bounce around at lightning speed,” security expert Peter Beering said.
The recent incidents have reignited a conversation about what needs to be done to protect schools.
In Anne Arundel County, the sheriff has proposed more school resource officers, cameras and the controversial solution of metal detectors in every single school.
“People have commented to me on Facebook saying, ‘you’re going to create a prison environment,’ absolutely not,” Anne Arundel County Sheriff Ron Bateman said. “I believe they actually have metal detectors at King’s Dominion and no one considers that a prison environment.”
School board president Julie Hummer agrees with some of the proposals, but she’s against metal detectors.
“They are all going to be standing in front of the school in a big bunch at the same hours of the day everyday, so if somebody wants to target students, that would be a perfect time to do it, so are we creating more of a problem than we are solving with that?” Hummer said.