Rumor mill fuels worries over school, student safety

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 14, 2009

A statement released Friday by Enterprise Attendance Centerofficials addressed rumors of a student plan to harm otherstudents, presenting them as possibly unfounded, but promising towork to insure student safety.

Enterprise Principal Shannon Eubanks said the rumors stemmedfrom an incident several weeks ago that was simply a disagreementbetween students.

“We have those daily. There was a student situation, and somerumors spread about one of the students involved, and it has takenon a life of its own,” he said. “It’s unreal how rumors spread likewildfire. Sometimes they die on their own, sometimes theydon’t.”

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Eubanks said in spite of the fact that the rumors appear to bejust that, he and other school officials are working with theLincoln County Sheriff’s Department to insure the safety of allstudents, faculty and staff.

Sheriff Steve Rushing said that supposedly some of the threatsthat are rumored were supposed to have been made on the Internet,but that his department has not been able to find anything tosubstantiate the rumors that threats were made.

“We were told they were out there, but where we were told theywere, they weren’t,” Rushing said. “We’re checking with federalauthorities to see if we can actually substantiate the rumors. Butto this point everything we’ve gotten so far, except for theinitial incident, was all rumors from what we’ve been able todetermine.”

Both Rushing and Eubanks said they had received multiple callsabout the situation from concerned parents, and both said for thatreason, every precaution is being taken.

“Several parents are concerned because they heard these rumors,and of course people are going to talk,” Eubanks said. “We made adecision to go ahead and publicly address it, and we want to bevery up front about these rumors as far as how we are dealing withthese problems, and we came to the point in time where we have topublicly acknowledge them.”

Rushing said that deputies will be patrolling the school areafor the next little while to reassure parents and students, whilealso deterring any incident.

“We’re planning on being more visible around the school just incase, but I think we’ve gotten our point across,” Rushing said,adding that his investigators had talked with at least one studentinvolved in the rumors, as well as that student’s parents.

Eubanks stressed again that students are still in no danger, andthat his own family is at risk when there are threats to theschool.

“I share your concerns; both my wife and my oldest child arepart of the Enterprise family,” he wrote in the Internet release.”But rest assured that everything is being done to prevent any suchoccurrence.”

In spite of the runaway rumor, Eubanks said, parents can counton Enterprise officials to do all they can to keep things secureand sheltered.

“I want people to remember our school is safe,” Eubanks said. “Idon’t want people in fear because they heard something that causedthem to doubt the safety of the school.”