Three quarters of pupils from a Blackpool school failed to show up for the first day of the new term after a terror message was posted online, threatening a gun massacre at the school by an unknown Facebook user.
Officials say that the school is safe for students to return back to class. Some students may require counselling before they return. The police are investigating the threats and guarding the school.
Schools Week reports:
Montgomery High School principal Tony Nicholson has confirmed a “significant reduction” in pupil numbers today after threats were posted on Facebook over the weekend.
Police officers attempted to provide a reassuring presence at the school this morning after a decision to open as normal was made despite the threats, which are now being investigated.
In a statement issued at 1.30pm today, Mr Nicholson said: “Parents can be reassured that there has been a calm and safe start to the day with a full turnout of staff with lessons being taught as timetabled. We completely understand your anxieties and concerns as students, parents and our wider community.”
He said he understood why parents had been “reluctant” to send their children into school, but said he wanted to reassure them that Montgomery was a “safe school”, adding: “We look forward to a return to our usual very high levels of student attendance.”
According to the Blackpool Gazette, a Facebook user who praised Columbine gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and said they were a “huge inspiration” for what was dubbed #MontyMassacre, has since deleted their account.
Another post had read: “On Monday, the bullies will be sorry when I go into school with a gun. I’ll kill as many people as possible.”
Lancashire Police said on Friday that there was “nothing to suggest” the threats were credible but it will continue providing “a reassurance presence” in and around the school.
The force confirmed today it was “in the process of pursuing a number of strong lines of enquiry”.
Since the threats were identified over the weekend, pupils have been offered counseling by council social services teams, while extra staff from school sponsor the Fylde Coast Academies Trust have been sent in to help.
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