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Admins, Police Address Violence Rumors

The talk may have started on Twitter.

Rumors of an approaching violent incident circulated through four Putnam high schools Thursday, prompting authorities and school officials to probe student chatter.

The following came from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office Thursday evening:

Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports that his office, working today in conjunction with school officials, investigated and dispelled false rumors of impending violence at four high schools in the county.

In separate incidents today, school officials at the Brewster, Carmel, Mahopac and Putnam Valley High Schools notified the Sheriff’s Office that rumors were circulating in those schools that some violent act would happen tomorrow (Friday) on their respective school campuses. The rumors were brought to the attention of the school resource officers (“SROs”)—deputy sheriffs assigned
to the schools. In each instance, the SROs investigated the rumors and determined them to be unfounded.

“In each of the four cases, it was determined that the information being circulated was a false and baseless rumor, and did not represent any credible danger,” said Sheriff Smith. “None of the
cases involved any student who made a direct or overt threat to commit an act of violence."

The Sheriff noted that security precautions at schools throughout Putnam County have been heightened since the deadly attack last week at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,
Connecticut.

Dr. Jane Sandbank, superintendent of Brewster Central Schools, said she had been in touch with several other district leaders from across the area Thursday. She noted that talk of the "end of the World" may have played into the rumors, which reportedly started on Twitter.

"It's like a game of telephone," she said.

Brewster High School Principal Dr. Joseph Castagnola addressed the rumors Thursday afternoon with an announcement intended to assure students that reported threats were unsubstantiated, Sandbank told Patch.

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