PHOENIX -- Hundreds of students were absent from a Valley high school Friday after rumors about an alleged shooting threat surfaced on campus and then again online.
“I heard on Facebook some kid was going to shoot up our school,” said Paradise Valley High School sophomore Ronald Meyer.
“Yeah it's crazy how quick things spread,” Said Freshman Cris Macias.
“It got me thinking what if this really happens,” said Freshman Nick Leto.
Paradise Valley High School officials first learned of the threat rumor on Wednesday. A single classroom was said to be the target.
Then the story changed to a threat possibly made against a specific student. So Phoenix police were called to investigate and found no real threat. Then the rumor surfaced again on Facebook on Thursday night.
“I was reading on Facebook last night someone was going to shoot up the school from multiple different people,” said Leto. “People were afraid to come to school today even everyone was like I’m scared to wake up, I’m scared to go to school.”
This morning the school officials placed an automated phone call to parents informing them of the rumor and posted a message on the district website, referring to the rumor as words taken out of context spread in frenzy on Facebook. The message let parents know the school was safe.
Still, some 540 students were absent.
“It was deserted, it was terrible,” said Macias.
“There were only 8 kids in my first block and there is usually 36,” said Meyer.
“It was a normal day just a lot of people didn't show up to school today. I only had 4 people in my first period class and I usually have like 20,” said Leto.
But aside from those absences, freshman Jesse Blatchford says, “It went as a normal day, people talked about it yeah, but nothing happened.”
Thankfully nothing happened and students learned a valuable lesson about social media.
“I've learned you can't trust everything on the Internet,” said Leto.
“It was on Facebook so I thought it was a rumor,” said Macias.
“The social media blows things way out of proportion,” said Blatchford.
Still students agree the school was right to call police and have this rumor investigated.
“Yeah I don't want anyone in danger,” said Blatchford.
“Yeah I think they should be taken seriously because even if kidding around you can never really tell,” said Macias.