Education

Rumored threat of violence keeps 60 Marion middle schoolers at home Friday

Police confirm rumor about Excelsior was unfounded

Police respond May 23, 2016, to a bomb threat at Excelsior Middle School in Marion. On Friday, 60 students stayed home f
Police respond May 23, 2016, to a bomb threat at Excelsior Middle School in Marion. On Friday, 60 students stayed home from Excelsior because of a rumor that a student was threatening violence. The rumor was unfounded, authorities said. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

MARION — About 60 Excelsior Middle School students stayed home from school Friday, after a rumor spread earlier this week that a student was threatening violence.

The school of almost 1,000 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders had 6 percent of students “called out by their parents as a result of the rumor,” Linn-Mar Community School District spokesman Kevin Fry said.

The rumor was unfounded, and there were no incidents Friday, said Officer Tom Daubs, a school resource officer for the Linn-Mar district.

“I 100 percent confirmed it was a miscommunication,” Daubs said. “It was like the telephone game in reverse. ... Unfortunately, social media spun this out of proportion, and there was not a viable or credible threat to begin with.”

Administrators at Excelsior Middle, 3555 10th St. in Marion, sent an email to families about the rumors Thursday afternoon.

“We are aware of this rumor and we want to assure you that we take any type of rumor seriously and have been working with Marion (Police Department) to be sure there is no threat,” the email said. “All staff and student’s safety is and will continue to be our #1 priority.”

Daubs, a frequent presence in Linn-Mar schools, spent the day at Excelsior as an extra precaution.

“I don’t want to scold parents — this is the world we live in, and we want to take safety as an utmost concern or priority,” he said. “If they do hear something or are aware of something, they should always reach out to the appropriate channels.”

Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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