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Tension, rumors lead to increased police presence at Grimsley High

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Trying to go back to routine isn’t easy after a mass shooting at a Florida High School Wednesday.

“That really created tension across the United States to any student, any parent of a child,” Greensboro Police Department Deputy Chief Mike Richey said.

Richey says that tension created a situation ripe for rumors at Grimsley High School. Police say it started with a small fight between a couple students in the morning.

The rumors kept growing, as someone posted there was a gun on campus, and it spread like wildfire on social media. Police say there was no gun on campus. Rumors even circulated there were students with knives on campus. Richey says on Tuesday three juveniles were charged with bringing weapons (knives) on campus, but there were no instances of that Thursday.

Richey says at it’s peak, there were 11 officers on campus. Normally there is one School Resource Officer per school in Greensboro, but in the aftermath of the Florida shooting, that presence was reenforced by community officers as well.

Some parents believe the school didn’t act quickly enough to dispel the rumors and let parents know the truth.

“It was definitely late,” parent Britt Flanagan said. “I think the rumors would not have occurred if parents had known first thing in the morning why there was such an influx of police here today.”

Police staffed the schools similarly in the beginning of the year, when there was a shooting at a Kentucky school. And this tension isn’t exclusive to Greensboro. Trinity High School received several reports of an alleged threat, and Randolph County Sheriff Robert Graves posted to Facebook saying there will be more deputies assigned to the school for safety and precautions, even though there is no credible threat at this time.

Some parents think we all need to be more careful about what we share on social media.

“My fear is it’s still being perpetuated and then unfortunately they’re gonna get the bad rap when they probably handled everything perfectly,” Grimsley parent Johanna Welch said.

Police say if you see a post about weapons on any school campus, alert police and school administration so they can investigate and verify.