Police: 'No Credible Threat' to Gun Rumors at Centreville High, Westfield High

Threats are similar to instances of rumors cited at schools around the nation, in wake of Connecticut school shootings.

Students at two Fairfax County high schools have reported rumors to parents and police that students may come to school with guns on Friday. 

But Fairfax County Police say there is nothing to the rumors.

"We are looking into it and it appears there are no credible threats," said Officer Shelley Broderick, public information officer with the Fairfax County Police Department.

The rumors have parents worried.

"My child came home from Westfield High School today and told me that a rumor is going around that there are two boys planning on coming to school on Friday with guns and planning to shoot anyone they don't like since the world is ending on Friday," one parent wrote in an email to Patch.

"In light of the recent shootings in Connecticut obviously we're all concerned and as a parent feel it is important to share this, as I'm quite concerned."

Another parent wrote: "There is a rumor all over Centreville High School about a shooting planned for Friday by a girl. There is a similar rumor at Westfield High School. This has been circulating by social media, as well. I called 911, and the 911 operator said that they have received calls from several students about this rumor."

Centreville High School principal Martin Grimm sent a letter out to parents:

A message from CENTREVILLE HS

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

We understand there are ongoing questions and concerns in the community this week about school safety. We are aware of the concerns that several parents and students have raised. CVHS Security and the School Resource Officer are addressing every concern that is brought to the school’s attention. In addition, we have consulted with Fairfax Police and FCPS Safety and Security personnel to assess and implement any additional security measures that are necessary in order to maintain a safe and secure learning environment. Social media platforms are wonderful communication tools when used appropriately. However, those same tools become counterproductive when used to spread unfounded rumors and misinformation. As you know, Fairfax Police have increased their presence and visibility around all FCPS schools and we are very appreciative of those efforts. We spend considerable time and effort in planning and practicing safety and security measures appropriate for a major critical incident and we will remain vigilant about protecting students and staff. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call the school at 703-502-5400. 

Martin Grimm 

Fairfax County Police started beefing up patrols of area schools on Monday, in light of the shootings in Connecticut.

Live in the area? Keep up with local news with the Centreville and Chantilly Patch email newsletters. 

Tracy December 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM
It doesn't help worried parents that the phone number in the letter is incorrect. No one answers.
susan mcclanahan December 21, 2012 at 01:31 PM
The number should be 703-802-5400.
CVHSParent December 21, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I agree with this view of the letter. I read it after hearing the rumor from my CVHS children and I was surprised of the vagueness of the letter. Had I not heard about the rumors, I would have dismissed the letter as a post-Newtown SOP communication. My kids were nervous about going to school this morning, but I had to walk that fine line of accommodating their concerns and being extra cautious in this world we live in and teaching them not to live in fear over every rumor they hear. When I drove them to school this morning, I was unnerved to see several police cars (one with lights flashing at the entrance to the student parking lot, as if to say "we're in full force here, don't try anything"). One might take comfort in that, but what it said to me, coupled with that letter, was "we don't really know what may or may not happen any more than the kids do." I remember irrational fears in the wake of 9/11 and the sniper, and some of that is coming into play here and why I made the decision to send my kids to school to face down their fears over rumors, but I do appreciate the fact that not acting on certain things could be disastrous too.
Michael Josef Basl December 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Peter Pfeiffer December 21, 2012 at 09:05 PM
The letter effectively addressed RUMORS on social media. I fully trust our school resource officers (they are armed uniform police officers). The information sent effectively addresses saftey concerns. I certainly don't think sending specifics about a security plan is sound practice since the details might just undermine a valid plan.


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