A Broadneck High schooler was suspended on Tuesday for threatening that he had a gun in a classroom, the principal said.
During class, the student became angry at another and said, "I have a gun in my pocket, and I'm going to shoot you," according to BHS Principal David G. Smith. The teacher brought the student to the school's front office, where he was searched by a school resource officer. He did not have a weapon.
Smith said he asked the student what he was thinking, saying such a thing while the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting is still fresh on people's minds. The student replied that he hadn't considered it. The student's parent was called to the office and he was then suspended from school.
Later that day, while the school was preparing for its scheduled armed intruder drill, Smith said he explained the entire incident on the school-wide intercom in an effort to calm the minds of both students and faculty members.
"If I didn't do something to actively control that rumor, then it would have fed this same kind of stuff that were hearing about now," Smith said. "I wanted the teachers to know what the facts were, so that the potential for rumor was dampened."
Smith said he's been a principal since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, and during the Washington, DC, sniper incident, but he said the impact left by the Sandy Hook shooting has been unprecedented, and he believes social media is to blame.
"I've never seen anything like this, and I can only think that it's a result of social media," Smith said.
Compounding rumors for students this year are fears that the end of the world will be Friday—marking the end of the Mayan calendar. Smith said some students believe that the shooting and the calendar's ending are related.
"Normally this is my favorite time of year, but with these two things at once, I can only hope that by Friday, we'll have some of that good cheer that we normally have before school lets out for the holidays," Smith said.
School officials and members of the Anne Arundel County Police Department held a press conference Wednesday to address countywide rumors of a planned shooting on Friday, saying that each rumor has been investigated and thus far are unfounded.