UNION TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) -
A teenage girl has been charged after making a post on Facebook about a shooting at Glen Este High School. Union Township police say the 15-year-old initiated a rumor on the social media site that hinted at a possible shooting on Dec. 21st.
The Union Township Police Department received hundreds of calls from parents Thursday afternoon after the post hit the Internet and an investigation was launched. Police increased security at schools Friday including undercover officer presence.
While classes were not canceled, the Glen Este High School principal told FOX19 fifty percent of students did not show up Friday.
"For me, I think it's best to not cave in because if we give in to every threat we're going to be in for … instability in our lives," Joyce Messick said after picking her granddaughter up from school.
Police arrested the 15-year-old girl on Friday for felony charges of inducing panic and tampering with evidence. The girl told police she initiated the post 'to see what would happen.' Police say she attempted to destroy evidence prior to them contacting her.
Union Township Police add that rumors of officers finding weapons were unfounded.
"The world changed last Friday and I'm not taking chances," parent Rebecca Taylor said Friday.
Taylor kept her kids out of school the first part of the school day.
"I don't want to let my kids be afraid…" Taylor said. "But I also want to let them know that there are sick people in this world and it could happen. It could happen right here in Clermont County."
"It takes a lot to send your child to a school if you're not certain that they're going to be safe and secure so we certainly understand that," West Clermont Local School District Superintendent Gary Brooks said.
Dr. Brooks says because the investigation was ongoing they were not able to get an "all call" out to parents before the school day started.
"We're sorry that we disappointed people and generally left [parents] in a state where they were more anxious than they needed to be," he said. "Certainly at no point in time did the police or the school system believe that students were in jeopardy."
Lt. Scott Gaviglia of the Union Township Police Department says unlike the rumors that spread like wildfire on social media, police have to get the facts right.
"We can't move as fast as Facebook or Twitter because we have to be responsible to the public and to society as a whole," he argued. "We take every threat seriously. Upon further investigation it was very clear this was a hoax with no plans, no diagrams, no weapons."
"Did I do the right thing? Did I not?" Taylor questioned. "I don't know, but I felt like I did."
Brooks says the school district is in the process of getting a letter out to parents. The superintendent says district officials will meet to evaluate their response and talk about ways they can improve communication with parents in the future.
"As a parent I would have liked to have known more quickly than I did at times," Brooks said. "In an ongoing investigation [and] you can't release all the information, I understand that. I also understand that as superintendent you're the one that takes responsibility for that and I do take responsibility for that."