Central Schools locked doors on Dec. 21

With unsubstantiated rumors of potential school violence in connection with Dec. 21, 2012 circulating around the metro area, Central Schools took no chances last Friday.

That date was the last day on the ancient Mayan calendar, which has led to widespread speculation that the end of the world could arrive on that day.

According to Brian Corlett, superintendent of Central Schools, parents raised concerns about safety after seeing a Facebook post mentioning a rumor that students might bring guns to school for mass shootings on Dec. 21. The post inquired whether that rumor was true, and whether any such talk had occurred at Central Schools.

Though there was no actual threat, Corlett said there was no reason not to err on the side of caution in light of parents’ concerns. The recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn. likely also contributed to parents’ concerns.

It became “a situation where we felt we had to have our outside doors locked and a police presence for parents,  students and staff peace of mind. Inside the building, the day went on as normal, and there were no students involved in any of this,” he said.

Jason Kamerud, Chief Deputy with the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, said the Sheriff’s Office received a somewhat ambiguous call regarding the rumors at about 10 p.m. on Dec. 20, and added that safety worries regarding Dec. 21 were not limited to District 108. Burnesville Schools even put a message about the rumors on the district website.

“This has happened in other districts as well. For the Norwood one, there was no credible information [about a threat], but the Facebook posting was linked specifically to the Norwood schools,” he said.

In response, Central Schools locked all exterior doors and kept a police officer at the school for nearly the entire day. Kamerud said that when students arrived in the morning they all went through one designated door past law enforcement and school administrators.

Of course, as the date at the top of this page indicates, the world did not come to an end on Dec. 21, and none of the rumored violence materialized at Central or any other school district.