Increased police presence planned at Arundel schools Friday

ShootingsSandy Hook Elementary School

Anne Arundel County government officials on Wednesday vowed an increased police presence at public schools on Friday amid rumors about a possible school attack that officials say has been determined to be unfounded.

At a news conference, Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, school Superintendent Kevin Maxwell and Lt. J.D. Batten, commander of the Anne Arundel County Police School Safety Section, sought to quell concerns about rumors of school shootings planned Friday. They declined to say which schools would have an increased police presence.

The school system currently has one resource officer at every high school and 11 middle schools.

On Tuesday, Bob Mosier, a schools spokesman, said Anne Arundel County public schools have been working with police to investigate the rumors but have found "nothing credible."

The number of schools that made automated calls and sent online letters advising parents of the rumors jumped to five Tuesday.

The schools are Arundel, Northeast, North County and Old Mill high schools and George Fox Middle School, Mosier said. The Arundel High letter said a Facebook posting said someone named Charlie will begin shooting Friday, but nothing has lent credibility to that, Mosier said.

No threats were made directly to schools, where students and parents have said they've heard from others about supposed shootings to take place Friday, Mosier said. Asked whether school security has been heightened, Mosier said, "We will put measures in place as they are prudent, and some may be visible and some may not be."

The reports come in the wake of Friday's shootings in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School pupils and six staff members were killed. The gunman allegedly killed his mother and himself.

Friday is the final day of school before winter break, and it is believed by some to mark the end of the world or other catastrophe in the Mayan calendar.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

joseph.burris@baltsun.com

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