Baltimore County school officials deal with rash of threats

Baltimore County schools dealt with reported threats on three separate campuses Thursday morning, as officials worked to quash rumors and assure parents their children are safe.

The schools were not placed on lock down and all the rumors proved to be unfounded, officials said.

"It appears at this point that a flurry of rumors is circulating on social media," said Charles Herndon, county schools spokesman. "People are understandably on edge because of recent events and these threats are really playing on people's nerves. We have investigated each incident quickly and thoroughly and there is no truth to any of them."

In the last two weeks, the county has dealt with a shooting at Perry Hall High School on the first day of classes. Robert Gladden Jr., 15, appeared in court Thursday for a bail review hearing on attempted murder charges, stemming from that Aug. 27 incident, when he brought a gun to the school cafeteria. The gun fired twice, during attempts to subdue Gladden, and critically injured a 17-year-old student, who was released from the hospital Monday.

On Tuesday, an eighth-grader brought a gun to Stemmers Run Middle School in Essex and threatened a teacher and classmates. No one was injured.

Investigators looked into rumors traced to Facebook Thursday. Those involved reports of a gun at Dundalk and Kenwood high schools. Police also followed up on a bomb threat left on a voice message at Lansdowne Middle, Herndon said.

"We are looking into everything in conjunction with the police department," Herndon said. "We are aware of these rumors and take them seriously to determine validity."

The school at 2400 Lansdowne Road in Halethorpe was evacuated briefly as police responded to the bomb threat. Students evacuated the building at about 8:15 a.m. and returned to their classrooms after about 15 minutes, officials said.

Staffs at Kenwood High School, a few blocks from Stemmers Run Middle, and Dundalk High dealt with gun rumors in their respective buildings Thursday. Kenwood, at 501 Stemmers Run Road in Essex, is within a few blocks of the middle school.

"We have found no indication that a gun was at Kenwood or Dundalk today," Herndon said. "We are doing everything we can to make schools safe and are encouraging everyone to focus on academics."

Catonsville High dealt with a car thief, shot by police on Frederick Road Wednesday and later captured on its campus. The school on Bloomsbury Avenue kept all students inside, as helicopters and police searched the area. Principal Deborah Bittner said she decided to moved forward with a scheduled emergency response drill Thursday. The incident Wednesday was good practice, she said.

 

Mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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