After a week filled with grieving over the Newtown tragedy, rumors about , worries about the "end of the world" and power outages, nearly one-third of students in Anne Arundel County didn't attend school on Friday.
Attendance was down 30 percent at Broadneck High School, according to Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) spokesman Bob Mosier.
Earlier in the week, a Broadneck High student was suspended for making a gun threat and a Southern Middle student set off a firecracker.
Mosier said that across the school system, 27.7 percent of students were absent—primarily in middle and high schools. He added that there were no unusual incidents at schools on Friday.
While some absences can be attributed to students taking the day off to travel before winter break, Mosier acknowledged there were other factors this week that accounted for absences more than tripling from 6.8 percent last year on the final day prior to winter break. Attendance was highest at elementary schools, where no threats were made regarding shooting plots and many classes had holiday activities planned for the day.Students Absent Day Before Break 2012 2011 High schools 38.5% 9.14% Middle schools 29.6% 6.6% Elementary schools 6.7% 5.5%
On Wednesday, officials held a press conference to respond to shooting plot rumors at several schools—including Old Mill High School in Millersville, North County High School in Glen Burnie, Arundel High School in Gambrills, and Northeast High School and George Fox Middle School in Pasadena. At these schools, rumors reportedly circulated that there were shootings planned for Friday but administrators sent letters to parents saying that there was no indication a real threat existed.
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