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Rumors: Reporting the truth is not ‘unfortunate’

From the beginning of compulsory public education, students have looked for ways, particularly near the ends of semesters, to get out of going to school for a day or two. Before the internet and social media, there was the old call-in-a-bomb-threat trick. It is difficult for schools to know how to handle such a situation, particularly in an era when it seems as though if they do not err on the side of caution, they are opening themselves up to the frustration of not just students, but their parents, too.

Students are quite adept at manipulating the current mindset.

So, when it seemed as though rumors at both Ravenswood and St. Marys high schools were enjoying far longer lives than they should have, this newspaper felt it was important to report the facts that in both situations authorities had deemed the rumors baseless — a hoax, even — and that parents who were continuing to keep their kids out of school were doing so despite there being “no threat made whatsoever.”

It was after that reporting of fact that a principal at another local high school appeared to take issue, telling parents, “Unfortunately there were things in the paper today reporting on area schools at Ravenswood and St. Marys and at times like that sometimes it can create new rumors to spawn …”

It is unclear what rumors, exactly, were spawned by the reports in the newspaper — though it is encouraging to know that principal appears to believe students are reading the News and Sentinel. That is wonderful to know.

Meanwhile, “There has been no threat, to my knowledge, in the Wood County system,” Superintendent Will Hosaflook said that day. “However, we will continue to monitor the situation and take extra precautions to ensure the safety of our students and schools.”

Don Brown, head of security for Wood County Schools, said “I’ve been working on this all day long, and nobody has provided me anything to show any kind of clear threat to Wood County Schools, other than just people talking.”

Again, because it was important for us to report the facts to students and parents, we reported that, too.

Kudos to the folks at our local high schools who are trying to keep our students safe in an era when rumors can fly faster than they have time to keep up with them, and they must treat every threat (at first) as though it is real.

Let’s not make that job any harder by pretending that the reporting of the truth that investigations into these latest rumors yielded no evidence of a real threat was “unfortunate.”

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