Parents upset about the way BMS handled ‘text threat’ situation

FRUITLAND, Md. – Many parents of Bennett Middle School 6th grade students are upset about the way things were handled Friday night during a school dance after a text message threat began to circulate.

The suspect texted that he was going to shoot up the school on Monday and once the text began circulating around students at the dance freaked out.

Many children calling their parents in a panic around 7:45 pm.

“She called me upset scared saying there’s been a gun threat you need to get here now, there are cops,” said Crystal Griffin whose daughter was at the dance.

By the time Griffin got there, she said students had been ushered out to wait for their parents, but that it seemed staff didn’t have control of the situation.

“All the kids started running and screaming inside, the cops were yelling at them to get in, the teachers were pushing and rushing them to get in and it was just horrific,  it was terrifying,” Griffin said.

Parents tell 47 ABC that it wasn’t until after 9 that Bennett started alerting parents, posting a message on their Facebook that said they knew of the threat, that authorities had responded and that all the students had gone home safe.

The school also made a post on Saturday along with an email and robocall that said in part:

“During the dance, administration was made aware of a concerning text message sent by an individual who was not at the dance. The Fruitland Police Department was called to check on the individual who sent the message. The police department also dispatched officers to the school itself, as a standard precaution. 
Many students were immediately frightened at the sight of law enforcement officers at the school dance, but despite what you may have heard or seen posted online, there was not at any time a threat at the school. There were no weapons or gunshots. We communicated clearly and directly last night with families of students who attended the dance, through SchoolMessenger, and we updated all BMS families with a Facebook post.”

But parents feel that the school’s response was adequate. Many questioning why students were allowed to go outside.

“Have them sit on the floor and keep them calm and have the other chaperones surrounding them and telling them everything is fine, there’s no threat, we are making calls to parents just to come get you early,” said Amanda Davis, whose daughter was at the dance.

Other parents on social media were frustrated that more information was not coming from the school.

Molly Urban writing on Facebook “I personally would love more information that isn’t coming from a child. What I do know: The kids are scared. The students feel threatened even if the “threat” was unfounded.”

47 ABC reached out to the BOE for a statement Monday and this was their response:

“At Wicomico County Public Schools, students and staff safety is our top priority, which is why we communicate to parents as early as possible.
In this case, we communicated both Friday night and again on Saturday to assure parents that there was no threat.”



Categories: Local News, Maryland