Parents keep students home due to 12/12/12 rumor

Posted at: 12/12/2012 7:19 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque Public Schools increased security on campus Wednesday after a rumor on Facebook about a shooting planned to happen on 12/12/12 surfaced.

Parents told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that a rumor was enough to keep their children home, while others said it was no reason at all.

"I just felt I had to keep him home today," Sabine Walsh, whose son attends Cibola, said.  "I strongly feel that that's a parents decision whether to keep their kid in school."

Walsh said she learned about the 12/12/12 shooting rumor from her son. "I didn't sleep at all last night, worrying, and I'm worrying today too," Walsh said.

APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta said the district did not notify parents directly but took extra precautions. "It is a rumor of a Facebook posting about a threat," Armenta said.  "We've yet to see anything, hear anything, talk to anybody."

Security was ramped up for students, who also had fear about the rumor.

"I was scared, I thought they were going to come and shoot up the school," a middle school student said.

"You're dealing with rumors every day. We have to address those rumors without alarming the public and interfering with the whole educational process," Armenta said.

A rumor turned into a threat got two students at Tony Hillerman Middle School expelled back in September, when they were accused of planning a school-wide shooting on 12/12/12.

Wednesday at Tony Hillerman, 140 students were not in class, compared to 137 absences exactly one year ago.

District officials said there were no significant absences at any of the schools Wednesday. "It's a rumor," one parent emphasized. "It's no reason to not send to the school," another parent said.

Walsh said she would rather err on the safe side. "I'd rather just over-react than not react at all," Walsh said.