Federalsburg, MD- On Sunday, October 28, 2018 a student from Colonel Richardson High School in Federalsburg, MD posted an online threat on Snapchat saying “he would make Columbine look like a joke”, while posing with what appeared to be a gun.
“Last night, we received notification that a threat had been made towards Colonel Richardson High School via a social media platform,” Superintendent Patricia Saelens said, “The threat was swiftly investigated by the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police, and the youth is currently in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Corrections.”
Officials say they received information through the Safe Schools Maryland Tip line, students, parents and other community members. The student was arrested approximately 2 1/2 – 3 hours after the information was received according to officials.
“We can assure the public that this matter has been addressed to the fullest extent by local law enforcement,” she said. “Due to the involvement of a youth, we cannot provide any additional details. Local law enforcement continues to work with us to ensure the students and staff safety, which is our number one priority.
Officials said about 45% of the High School students and 32% of the Middle School students did not attend school on Monday. The Middle School is located on the same campus as the High School. Students would be given an excused absence for Monday.
The Maryland Safe Schools Tip Line was launched at the beginning of October 2018. Students, family members, parents, teachers, administrators, and other community members can anonymously report information to Safe Schools Maryland via a mobile app available for download through the Apple App Store or Google Play, online at www.SafeSchoolsMD.org, or by calling 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233). Trained technicians will respond to reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
“Incidents of targeted violence at our schools are rarely sudden impulsive acts; instead, in the majority of these incidents, another person was aware of what the student was thinking or planning to do,” said Governor Hogan. “We must remain ever vigilant when it comes to protecting our kids, and we are counting on our local school communities, our students, teachers, and parents to work together with us in these important efforts.”
At the announcement of the launch, the governor also announced that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) was just awarded $3.6 million in federal school safety grants, which will supplement over $40 million in state funding provided in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. A five-year, $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow Maryland to implement the Maryland School Emergency Preparedness Program, a partnership between MSDE, local school systems, MEMA and local emergency managers. In addition, a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will allow MSDE to implement a new violence prevention model in schools across the state.
“Learning simply cannot take place in a school where students and teachers don’t feel safe,” Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools said. “These funds will help Maryland update and modernize emergency operations plans in schools throughout the state, and utilize state-of-the-art techniques to better identify potential threats to student safety.”
Earlier this year, Governor Hogan proposed and enacted landmark school safety legislation, expanding the work of the Maryland Center for School Safety, creating statewide school safety standards requiring standardized training and certification for school resource officers, and requiring each school system in Maryland to develop mental health assessment teams in order to identify students whose behavior may pose a threat to safety and provide interventions.