Rumors in the air - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Rumors in the air

Schools, police on alert for possible violent acts

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Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Rumors that a student is planning to bring a gun to school and shoot people on Friday, the same day the Mayan calendar predicts the world will end, are spreading rampantly among school-age children in Kootenai County and throughout the nation.

School officials and law enforcement officers in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls say they have checked out numerous reports of threats of school violence this week and have found no evidence that students are in danger.

The rumored threats come in the wake of last week's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

"We've run down every rumor, every Facebook posting. Right now, we have no valid threat," said Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood.

Wood and Post Falls Police Chief Scot Haug each told The Press there is no evidence that any threat was made by a local student. If a threat of violence was found to have come from a Coeur d'Alene student, Wood said that child would face serious disciplinary action.

School districts and police agencies throughout the country are dealing with similar situations, Wood said.

Patrol officers in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls and Kootenai County sheriff's deputies are increasing their presence at area schools, in addition to school resource officers already assigned to some campuses.

"We're trying to position officers at the schools at key times as a precaution to try to get a calming effect," said Post Falls Chief Haug.

School officials in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls responded Wednesday by sending emails and letters to parents advising them that the districts are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and investigating every allegation.

"At this point, nothing is substantiated other than a horrible rumor," stated the letter Coeur d'Alene parents received. "Unfortunately in light of the tragic events from last week, even a rumor is striking fear in many of our students and parents."

School administrators in Coeur d'Alene met with Sheriff-elect Ben Wolfinger and Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Wayne Longo earlier this week to discuss existing emergency response plans and review other school safety measures, said Coeur d'Alene School District spokeswoman Laura Rumpler.

"We are trying to create normalcy and safety and routine in the schools," Rumpler said. "As students talk about the tragedy of last week, we are answering questions, helping children feel safe, but we aren't dwelling on it."

Many parents have contacted the district about the situation, expressing a diverse array of opinions on how the district should handle school safety.

"We've been applauded by parents who appreciate our effort to try to create a sense of safety and normalcy for their kids," Rumpler said. "Others said they're keeping their kids home until teachers are armed with guns, and everything in between."

Rumpler said she thinks the school violence rumors have gained more traction among students because Friday is the day the Mayan calendar predicts the world will end. She said that even if the school shooting had not occurred last week in Connecticut, school districts might still be dealing with similar unsubstantiated rumors.

Former Coeur d'Alene School Superintendent David Rawls said, "You can't discount rumors, but on the other hand, you can over-respond."

Rawls, who led the Coeur d'Alene School District from 1997 to 2002, was superintendent of schools in Moses Lake, Wash., in 1996, when an armed student went into one of that district's classrooms and killed a teacher and two students. Another child was seriously injured.

The Moses Lake incident was reported as the nation's first in-classroom shooting, Rawls said.

"We've come a long ways from where we were back in '96," Rawls said.

Those were the days before lockdowns and sophisticated emergency response plans, he said. After that, schools were designed so the main entrances would be visible by office staff, and they started locking all doors except the main one during the school day.

But sometimes even that won't prevent a tragedy, Rawls said. The school in Newtown had a secure front door that a person had to be admitted through to get inside the school. The shooter in Newtown broke a window to get in, he said.

It's hard to stop someone who's "insane, and is willing to commit murder and die in the process" from committing a tragic act, Rawls said.

When he came to work in Coeur d'Alene in 1997, Rawls said the board's direction was on increased school safety. During his tenure they increased the number of evacuation sites and added school resource officers, police officers assigned to the schools. There are now five SROs in Coeur d'Alene. Post Falls has two.

"Look at the increased amount of emphasis on student safety we have today. We, as a community, have said that's important enough that we'll pay for it," Rawls said.

Area schools will remain open on Friday.

Rumpler said they will continue closely monitoring the situation in Coeur d'Alene and remain in constant contact with law enforcement agencies.

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  • kohse posted at 4:35 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    kohse Posts: 11

    And ... now school is cancelled. K-12 All of CDA SD271.

  • JustBNMe posted at 4:28 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    JustBNMe Posts: 35

    "Area schools will remain open on Friday."

    So much for that. I understand their reasons for cancelling school, but also hope they are taking serious steps to punish those students found to be perpetuating these rumors.

  • CaiusCosades posted at 4:10 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    CaiusCosades Posts: 380

    I think all teachers should have shotguns strapped to their backs and two 9mm pistols at their sides with full body armor and a riot helmet while they're up at the front of the class teaching little timmy how to make a macaroni noodle necklace.

  • max power posted at 3:41 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    max power Posts: 559

    *** Mayans Revise Doomsday Prediction: Now January 21, 2013 ***

    The ancient Mayans only surviving doomsday predictor gave the world a brief reprieve today when High Chief Hokum announced from his office in the Yucatan, that due to a conflict with the Gregorian Calendar, the end of the World and the United States as we know it has been extended so that it coincides with the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama.

    Declaring that when his ancestors made the original calendar that was due to expire on December 21, 2012, Mayans had no concept of the Leap Year. High Chief Hokum explained that 5,000 years ago, "leap year" had a totally different meaning. That was the year Mayan High Priests made undesirables leap into a volcano to offer sacrifice to the Gods.

    With the advent of the Gregorian Calendar introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a revision of the Julian Calendar and marked by the suppression of 10 days or after 1700, 11 days, and later led to the restriction that only those centesimal years divisible by 400 should be Leap Years. High Chief Hokum blamed the current December 21, 2012 mistake on the inability of the Mayans having access to "New Math"...

    "Hecha annualis prevaricatus" - Translation: The calendar don't lie

  • truthful1 posted at 2:43 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    truthful1 Posts: 554

  • JoeIdaho posted at 12:25 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    OK, I'll play YOUR game, "crust".
    Here's what we shoud do:
    Figure out who's crazy, and put them away. They won't be dangerous any more, and we won't have to worry about them doing anything bad to anyone else.
    Now, UNTIL you can tell me HOW to do that; your ignorant idea of removing MY ability to DEFEND myself is just pure unadulterated idiocy.

    Your answer is "do something", which is a thinly veiled attempt at "gun control".

    As to a 357 being somethign of a "pea shooter", MANY have died getting shot with those peas.

  • GrnEydGuy posted at 12:11 pm on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    GrnEydGuy Posts: 37

    "...on Friday, the same day the Mayan calendar predicts the world will end,"

    With all due respect Marueen Dolan you have in this one sentence demonstrated not only your blatant ignorance about the Mayan calendar but you tarnished the true and SACRED prophecy that the Mayans call the Change of the Suns. In no way have the Mayans ever, nor do they now claim this time to be "the end of the world". It is an astrological time chart of cycles, nothing more, nothing less. It does not end, ITS A CHART OF CYCLES for Christ's sake.

    Stop perpetuating the mainstream ignorance PLEASE!

  • crust123 posted at 11:34 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    crust123 Posts: 205

    Joe, you sure know alot about everything, and seem to have it all figured out. Status quo Joe??? You really think doing absolutely nothing is the right option??
    You are very adept at criticizing, but not so adept at critical thinking. Never any solutions, just lots of bellyaching. Lots of use of CAPS Joe does not make you any more intelligent.
    Youre a gun expert joe? Saturday night specials typcically a house defense gun? What are you smoking Joe? Might as well defend your house with a pea shooter. Sat nights were just an example, but since you chose to jump on it, why dont you tell me how those are typically used for home self defense Joe.
    A lot of innocent children just died Joe, you really think it makes sense for us to do nothing?? If so, i am surely wasting my breath , as you arent capable of a reasonable conversation.
    I get the age old argument Joe and agree to some extent, its not the guns, its the people pulling the trigger. But there should be some attempt made to limit what the wackos can use on innocents. And limit how many shots they can get off before they shoot themselves.
    Come up with something new joe, the age old arguments are old, and i guarantee you if those with reason dont come up with some reasonable solutions, the liberals leading DC will and you wont like the answers.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 11:00 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    crust, do you REALLY think that the gun had ANYTHING to do with this criminals' intent? Seriously?

    The premise of punishing the rest of society, who OBEY the law, with removal of their rights, is ludicrous.

    First off, the guns were STOLEN.
    Second, the laws in place prevented him from BUYING what he wanted.
    Third, as a dedicated, intelligent DEVIL, if he wouldn't have used guns, he'd have figured out a way to do it anyways.

    The firearm he used wassupposedly a Bushmaster, a SEMI-automatic gun. he could have done the same with a 22 short; a NON- "assault rifle". No doubt.

    So; you notice the runs on gun stores?

    Know why?

    Because the people who actually USE guns KNOW that folks like you that "want somethign done" don't understand the premise that it's not GUNS that kill people, it's the idiots pulling the trigger. THEY are the problem, NOT the guns.
    See; you don't understand firearms, period. You think about "100 round magazines" (which really don't exist) and "Saturday Night Specials" which are a typical defend your house/person type gun, NOT automatic, NOT assault rifle.
    Therein lies the problem, the peope who WANT gun control don't know ANYTHING about guns. They're the same people who want more wolves, right up until one eats their dog.
    They're also FOR gun control, until someone holds a gun at their face; THEN they are against "gun control", because they START to comprehend what it means to defend yourself.

  • truthful1 posted at 10:49 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    truthful1 Posts: 554

    Obviously just supporting the NRA agenda of putting more guns into schools. What's the problem?

  • crust123 posted at 10:30 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    crust123 Posts: 205

    Joe, i am not a dem, liberal or anti gun, but i am at the point, where we need to do something different...Do we really need saturday night specials, 100 round magazines, etc?? Some rational thinking needed for sure, though not convinced that is possible out of dc...

  • JoeIdaho posted at 10:18 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    "Rumors nationwide" started by Dimcrabs, all about gun control. ANYTHING to punish those bad, law abiding conservatives.

  • wheels1 posted at 6:48 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    wheels1 Posts: 461 kidding. this stuff has to stop now.

  • crust123 posted at 5:36 am on Thu, Dec 20, 2012.

    crust123 Posts: 205

    "and i think to myself....what a wonderful world" Louis Armstrong

    what a sad follow up to the most horrific story in all my years...

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