After interviewing more than 15 students, the Houston Police Department said there was no truth to alleged rumors of violence against the school district.
Chief Jim McNiell said his department could not identify a specific threat against the Houston School District. He said authorities spoke to students who heard about the threats as well as two students who had supposedly threatened the violence.
The students, who had been suspended, denied making threats.
Fear of a bombing or shooting began circulating Wednesday and spread on social media, according to Superintendent Scott Dill. Local authorities spent Thursday morning patrolling the campus as a safety precaution, but Dill said the alleged threats were unsubstantiated.
School dismissed at 12:34 p.m. for parent/teacher conferences. Attendance was down about 20 percent.
“We had some kids who started rumors on social media, and it took off,” Dill said.
A frenzy among concerned parents reached media sources in Springfield. Dill and local authorities attempted to diffuse the situation after finding no validity in the threats.
Dill sent out a school reach message – the district’s phone system that calls parents directly – shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday to address the situation. Local police posted a message on their Facebook page early Thursday morning.
“The Houston Police Department has received numerous calls from concerned parents and citizens regarding a bomb or gun threat directed at the Houston Schools,” the post said. “We take any threat, specifically one directed at the school or our children, very seriously. We have spoken to several people and alleged suspects. The report has been investigated thoroughly and appears to be unsubstantiated.”
Dill said he reviewed video footage of every building beginning at dusk Wednesday night after he was contacted by local authorities. He said there was no suspicious activity or anyone inside the buildings.
Officers with the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol assisted with patrolling the campus Thursday.