Rumors that a shooting would occur at Gen. John Stricker Middle School on Friday spread quickly over social media the night before, resulting in a message being sent to Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance via Twitter.
Dance, who has 10,000 Twitter followers, was sent a tweet at 9:31 p.m. saying, "Do something about this." The message included a screen shot of another tweet that said, "Apparently there is a planned shooting supposed to happen at Stricker tomorrow."
Dance said he saw the tweet three minutes later and called administrators in charge of school safety. Police were then called and have charged a 15-year-old Stricker student with disruption of school activities because of a threat posted on Facebook, according to Cpl. John Wachter, the county police public information officer. The student intended the Facebook post as a joke, and there were never any firearms brought to school, police said.
In addition, the school district has taken disciplinary action against the student, according to Mychael Dickerson, a school system spokesman.
A similar incident occurred at Holabird Middle School, and the two appear to be linked, according to Wachter, but further details about Holabird were not available Friday.
As rumors spread, Dickerson said, the school system sent out an automated phone message Friday morning to parents at Stricker, Holabird and nearby Norwood Elementary, assuring them that it was safe to send their children to school.
Students are told, "If you see something, say something." Dance said incidents are prevented when that message is taken seriously.