Police increased their presence at Towson High School on Friday after a threat of a mass shooting was sent to members of the school community.

The school principal, Charlene DiMino, sent a message to parents and school staff about the threat late last night, informing them the Baltimore County police were investigating the matter and the credibility of the threat.

“Out of an abundance caution, BCoPD will have additional officers at our school today,” she said. “We understand how unsettling such messages can be and want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to ensure student and staff safety. We will continue to work closely with BCoPD to investigate this matter and will provide an update once we have more information. Please contact the school at 443-809-3608 if you have any questions.”

She sent a follow-up message Friday morning saying the source of the threat has not yet been identified.

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Many students didn’t show up for class, leading the school to cancel its after-school athletic and theater activities.

Police were made aware of the threat Thursday about 6:30 p.m., a department spokesperson told The Baltimore Banner. The credibility of the threat “appears low at this time,” but police are still investigating, said Detective Trae Corbin.

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Charlie Herndon, spokesperson for Baltimore County Public Schools, said the district takes all threats seriously and police are investigating. He said the school system “hopes this will have minimal amount of disruption” but understands why students have chosen not to attend class Friday since the threat is already “in the ether.”

Shelley Heyer, a parent of a Towson High School sophomore, made the decision to keep her son home Friday after the school said the investigation was ongoing.

“We had the kids at home where they were safe,” she said. “Baltimore County Public Schools and Towson High School opted to bring them into school while the investigation was still happening and just provide extra officers at the school. And didn’t provide us with the amount of officers either.”

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Before deciding to keep her son home, she made calls to the school and police department asking how many officers would be there and where they would be stationed. But she didn’t receive a clear answer.

“There was no concrete evidence that it was safe, that we were fully protected by a lot of officers,” she said.

Her son’s first period class is in a trailer, which also didn’t help her comfort level, and none of the four neighbors at her son’s bus stop chose to go to class either.

Police were also present at Eastern Technical High School in Essex after a student allegedly showed “potentially threatening” behavior, according to the principal.

Like DiMino, Eastern Tech principal Christene Anderson also sent a message to the school community Friday morning informing them of the situation and additional police presence.

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“The safety of our students and staff is our top priority and we want to assure you that we are taking this matter seriously and will continue to work closely with BCoPD as they investigate,” she said. “We are deeply disappointed by the actions of this student. Hateful, threatening and discriminatory statements and behaviors will not be tolerated at Eastern Technical HS. Any student who engages in such behavior will be subject to serious consequences from the school and law enforcement.”

Corbin said he did not have the number of officers present at each high school. The investigation at Eastern Tech is ongoing and also doesn’t seem to have much credibility, he added.

Towson High School parent Laura Dover said since school shootings have become so common, she felt both resignation and relief this morning. Resignation because the day her family could be impacted by school violence had arrived. Relief because the early notice allowed her to keep her kids home.

“I always kiss my kids goodbye in the morning, even my high schoolers, because you never know if it will be the last time you see them,” she said in a message. “That hits hard if I think about it too much.”

Dover has two Towson High students. Dover said her ninth grader would have probably gone to school if Dover made him, but he was relieved when she didn’t allow it. And her junior, who has one of the male lead roles in the school’s production of “Little Women,” had his show canceled tonight.

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“It makes me sad that this is the world we live in and what we’re leaving to our kids,” she said. “We need to do better for them.”

She wishes the school had been able to give more information about how to keep kids safe beyond having additional police.

“We have seen how that isn’t necessarily helpful in stopping violence, most recently in Uvalde,” she added.

However, she is grateful parents knew about the threat ahead of time so they could decide to keep kids home.

The threats come on the heels of parents and community leaders calling out school violence and claiming there has been an increase in such incidents. The school system, however, said the rate of violence has decreased overall and that no student who breaks the rules goes unpunished.


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