Rumors Scare Parents at Local School

Rumors Scare Parents at Local School
By: CJ Cassidy
ELLSINORE, Mo. - Rumors of a threat at a local school spark fighting words from parents.
School leaders in East Carter County find themselves in the hot seat once again.  This time they're facing questions from parents about school safety.
In the newsroom Wednesday, Heartland News took dozens of calls from parents all wanting answers, all worried about their kids after a number of threats and rumors began swirling through the district.
Parents say rumors were all they had to go on and they would have preferred to hear from school leaders directly.
Heartland News does not report threats, but in the wake of recent issues at the school and all the questions parents have we decided to talk with both sides about what happened.
"They needed to notify parents about what was going on.  It was a shooting by the time it got on my phone," Dee Sparks said. 
She pulled her children out of school immediately after hearing the rumors about a threat at East Carter County High School. "The high school was supposedly on lockdown with the Junior High and there was at least 30 parents who had arrived to take the children home," Sparks said.
Many other parents say the rumors ruffled a lot of feathers in redbird country.
One parent who didn't want to be identified says an alleged hazing incident involving the school's basketball players back in June gave those fears flight.
"A parent should know if there's a threat to his/her child.  It's the responsibility to let us know these things," she says.
East Carter Superintendent Tim Hager says the district only calls parents if there's a legitimate threat.
"Nothing's been substantiated.  Police looked at our campus found nothing.  We're in the business to have school.  We're having school," Hager said.
Hager says he never put the school on lockdown although some locked doors on a school building may have caused some parents to panic.
Since then, he's brought in a police officer to patrol school grounds for about a month and asks parents to have a little faith.
"Communicate to your child that school is safe.  There's procedures and personnel in place, so when they get off the bus, they're here to have school," Hager said.
There is a parent/teacher meeting scheduled for Thursday night.  It was scheduled a while back, but many parents say they'll be there to hear from school leaders directly.
In the meantime, the Carter County Sheriff says they don't have any suspects who might have made any threats but they do take all threats very seriously.