Raleigh, N.C. — In the aftermath of last week's elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., local school administrators say they are taking seriously any threats or rumors that have surfaced regarding school violence this week.
Wake Forest-Rolesville High School sent a letter to parents on Wednesday advising them of a rumor circulating about students planning to bring weapons to school Friday.
"Our security staff and administrators have monitored this closely and have no reason to believe there is any real threat to student safety," principal Patti Hamler wrote, adding that extra security will be on campus Friday as a precaution.
"In light of recent national events, we want you to know that the safety and security of students remains our top priority," Hamler said. "We take any threat or rumor of violence seriously."
Stephen Gainey, interim superintendent for the Wake County Public School System, said in a recorded telephone message to parents Thursday that extra support from local law enforcement agencies would also be available at other schools where rumors of violence have surfaced.
Those schools include Apex Middle School and Athens Drive High School and Sanderson High School in Raleigh.
"Certainly, with all the events that have happened, I know that security and safety's first and foremost on parents' minds," Wake schools spokeswoman Cris Mulder said. "We want to make sure we are reassuring parents that we're taking every step to do a thorough investigation into any leads that come in."
Other school systems in the Triangle are also dealing with similar rumors.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Thomas Forcella told parents in a letter Thursday that they can also expect extra security on Friday and that all doors will be secured and monitored throughout the day.
"This particular rumor seems to be focusing on secondary-level schools, but I feel it is important to provide the increased security to all schools, as one cannot be sure."
Durham Public Schools is also adding extra security at some of its schools Friday, spokesman William Sudderth said, although he did not say how many schools.
"We are encouraging parents to emphasize to students that participating in rumors on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites will not be tolerated," he added.
On Thursday, the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office arrested Dylan Greg Marten, a 17-year-old Ashley High School student from Wilmington, with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after he allegedly spread a rumor that a gunman was going to "shoot up the school" on Friday.
Deputies said the rumor has prompted many students to plan not to attend classes Friday out of fear.
Schools across the U.S. have also had heightened security as a result of the Connecticut shootings, in which a man killed 27 people, including 20 6- and 7-year-olds before killing himself.