MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Mahopac Central School District officials have been busy trying to quell rumors and assuage fears of an impending attack on the high school, saying it was prompted by the misunderstanding of a text message.
“It was initially coming from the kids based on the misreading of a text or a Tweet; I’m not sure which,” said School Superintendent Dr. Dennis Creedon. “They said [in the message] they were going to ‘shoot up to Mahopac’ for a visit and it was misread.”
In the wake of the text’s misreading, Creedon said, the rumor began to spin and it “started to focus on one student who had nothing to do with it.”
Creedon said school officials tried to squelch rumors of the student’s involvement so the student would be able to go to the prom without fear of any repercussions.
“But then, over the weekend, parents started to talk about it and it gave the rumors new life,” he said. “We have to be careful about that. Whispering down the lane can be damaging. We have to take care.”
Creedon said that school administrators conducted their own investigation into the matter while bringing in extra police to cover the campus. He also sent out an email blast to parents to let them know of the situation.
“We did an internal investigation and the police were here just to give peace of mind,” the superintendent said. “Rumors can take on a life of their own. Over the weekend, especially with what happened in Orlando (the mass shooting at the gay nightclub), it is understandable why people have a heightened vigilance.”
Creedon assured parents that there was never any real threat and things have returned to normal at the high school.
“People can search for needles in a haystack to try and give substance to a rumor,” he said. “And I understand that parents are just being vigilant. But it’s not something to worry about. The story just got out of control. Everything is going on at the school as planned. Teachers are teaching; students are learning.”