Twitter threats by students lead to stepped up patrol at school
by Lindsay Field
November 30, 2012 11:27 AM | 24094 views | 53 53 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw Mountain High (MDJ / Lindsay Field)
Kennesaw Mountain High (MDJ / Lindsay Field)
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KENNESAW — A heavy police presence was seen on Kennesaw Mountain High School’s campus Friday after school leaders learned of potential threats exchanged between students via Twitter.

By afternoon Friday, things had quieted down, said James Arrowood, director of public safety for Cobb Schools.

“It seems to get a life of its own on these Twitter accounts,” he said. “They talked about shooting but no direct ‘I will bring weapons here … shooting whoever.’”

School police were joined by eight Kennesaw Police officers in patrolling the campus Friday, and many parents pulled their children out of school for the day, officials said.

District spokesman Jay Dillon said “several” students were being “dealt with appropriately according to school district policy” on Friday morning after school administrators learned Thursday that the students made potential threats via Twitter.

School leaders “called campus police, public safety and have also worked with the Kennesaw Police Department to investigate it,” Dillon said. “We were able to identify the students involved … it’s still under investigation and there could be additional students.”

The district would not say how many students were involved, but that campus police had turned it over to school administers by Friday afternoon as a “purely disciplinary matter, rather than a police investigation.”

According to the district’s conduct manual regarding off-campus offenses, the administration can discipline a student for “conduct which makes the student’s continued presence at school a potential danger to persons or property at the school or which disrupts the educational process.”

Kennesaw Mountain has more than 2,000 students in grades nine through 12.

Principal Kevin Daniel also posted a message on the school’s website and sent out a phone message to parents Friday morning, and another one later in the day.

He advised parents that police officers were on campus throughout the day and that the students who were making threats were identified and disciplined according to district policy.

“We will continue to keep you informed if the situation changes,” the online message states. “Please be aware that at this time no incidents have occurred on our campus today and that we will continue to pursue any students involved in making threatening statements. Students involved in making such statements or in fighting will be disciplined appropriately.”

A Kennesaw Mountain parent who spoke on condition of anonymity said his daughter sent him a number of instant messages throughout the day with updates on what was going on inside the school.

About 11:15 a.m., she sent him another message that stated, “So many cops here, I feel safe.”

Kennesaw Police Officer Scott Luther said his agency had eight officers on campus Friday and patrolling hallways during the day.

Dillon said “higher than normal” numbers of students were checked out of school early on Friday.

Another district spokesman, Doug Goodwin, said that while Cobb does not actively monitor students’ social media activities, “For situations in which online activity outside of school disrupts the normal, safe operation of the school day, our administrators and campus police can and do use available tools for investigation and to follow up with appropriate action for the benefit and safety of students.”

“Due to the open nature of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, administrators are very swiftly notified of potentially disruptive activity by students, parents and/or community members using these platforms,” he said. “Whether or not a safety concern originates from social media, our schools’ responsibility to follow up is the same.”

Goodwin said the district encourages students and families to speak up if they read or hear about any potentially disruptive activity.
Comments
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Current KMHS Student
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December 03, 2012
As a student at KMHS, I can tell you this situation was blown way out of proportion. I believe Dr. Daniels handled this situation the way it should have been. Blaming him for this situation is a ridiculous proposition. Sure it was scary at first, but the staff handled it in the best of their abilities.
Town Hall
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December 02, 2012
Parents should demand a town hall meeting. The information on the school's website is too vague. We need more details about this incident and the epidemic rise in fights.
STUDENT GRADUATE 13
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December 01, 2012
1) KENNESAW MOUNTAIN HIGH SCHOOL is no place for BLACK KIDS. some of the administration EXCEPT coach baker, are racist. You cant blame this because of the kids that live in lakeside or that come from bad school's. if you dont want to have this problem them kennesaw shouldnt be a choice school. Since coach kelly left kids have been out of control.So i have that ppl r being so stero type. smh
13' student
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December 03, 2012
I AGREE With this, people are so quick to stereotype us African Americans, while they don't even have a clue as to what actually went on within the twitter limits. Regardless of Lakesides past, what took place Friday shouldnt be assumed as a "Lakeside Kid'
Watcher...
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December 03, 2012
13' Student,

Please tell us what went on during the Tweets.
Christopher Sanchez
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December 01, 2012
When my family returned to Georgia in 2008 after a couple of years away, we did not return to Cobb County for a number of reasons. The public schools were at the top of the list of those reasons. Learning of the handling of this incident comes as no surprise.
Former KM student
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November 30, 2012
It's quite sad to see the blame being pointed and certain groups of people and even blaming the principle. There are codes that the county enforces regarding telling parents of certain situations. If it were a serious threat you all would have received a call and not a post on the website. I know going there it is such a diverse school which is what makes it great. Yes, this was a scary situation and it shouldn't be taken lightly. But don't point fingers at a people who live in apartments or kids who are bused to the school from out of district. It could have been anybody, possibly your neighbor(not to scare you). Dr. Daniel does an amazing job, this day made it tough for him I'm sure.
Connected
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December 01, 2012
but it WAS aparment kids and they were gathering in the courtyard to take ap icture throwing gang signs...4 kids expelled yesterday...BYE BYE. Bottom line is the administration did a great job under very difficult circumstances and most of these folks on here complain about everything anyway, you can't satisfy em all. Thanks to Cobb police who did a great job as well.
KMHS Student
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December 01, 2012
If it were a serious threat you all would have received a call and not a post on the website.
KMHS Kid
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November 30, 2012
The school has failed to mention that they never once did mention the word gun or shooting during the school day to the students or parents (They called it "the current situation" or "this situation" ), and I was told by a teacher herself that they were not planning on telling the students about this. That means we would have just been about normally and then all of the sudden they may be shot in the head. Since they did know, people stayed away from the courtyard where everything goes on.

They also failed to alert the parents when they found out it, instead of waiting until they had "reliable information" according to the school website. Couldn't they have at least said the previous night that they have rumors of the issue? They left all of this to the mercy of the internet and left it alone and unanswered for way too long. This is what lead to confusion (people saying there was indeed a shooter) and more fear then there should have been.

The school has also not mentioned that at the end of the day I SAW WITH MY OWN EYES two people run out of the back of the school and in the direction of the football field and track around 3:00 and were found and arrested. I heard ten in total were arrested though, but I can say that two indeed were arrested after running.

They ALSO failed to mention this was a in-school GANG RELATED ACTIVITY and the graffiti on the wall somewhere in the building.

The last FAILURE they made was not mentioning the punishments to the students. Therefore we will be left wondering if they will return and shoot next month/semester or be in jail and put under a long-term probation. I did read somewhere, though, that this will not be a criminal charge. Does that mean if I threaten to shoot up the Town Center Mall I won't be arrested?

Perhaps covering up the TRUTH to keep your reputation up isn't good when it may have involved DEATHS, GUNS, and CHILD SAFETY?

This likely will keep happening until there is a real shooting sometime, somewhere because of some random occurrence. It may not be at KMHS but both gangs are at strong tensions and look like they will not go down without a fight.

Total failure count - 7: Not raising awareness properly, not alerting the members of the school (parents and students) properly, not providing any notes about this until people have been at the school for two-or-so hours, not mentioning the complete story, didn't mention gangs, didn't mention graffiti, declined to publish the punishments for all to see.
wanna be's
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December 01, 2012
these kids are "wankstas" to take a term from .50 They are harmless juveniles who want to seem like thugs. They got the attention they wanted, caused problems and in their rabbit-a$$ minds, won. I see early entry into the criinal justice system for them and this was just one of the many bad judgements they will make in their lives. Sad, really sad.
Mike F.
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December 02, 2012
Get a real handle. You ain't no kid.
Mike F.
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November 30, 2012
It was handled appropriately, in my opinion.

My son stayed all day, and enjoyed the enhanced teacher:student ratio.

The guilty Twitterers should have the book thrown at them. Expulsion.
@Mike F.
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December 01, 2012
One clear head among too many hysterical responses.

The principal and school were following protocol. If you don't like how it was handled, contact the board and your board member and work at changing policy.

And remember to breathe.
Watcher...
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November 30, 2012
UPDATE 4:35 p.m. - Cobb School Police say they will not pursue a criminal case in the incident. It will be handled as a disciplinary case by the school district.

Now the "Little Darlings" will be protected by the "it's under investigation" mantra of the Cobb School District.

MDJ please do your job aND REPORT what really happened at KMHS.

Dee[ Throat
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December 01, 2012
MDJ..look into the Lakeside VIsta Apartments and "Hustle Team" gang if you want to know more.
JUSTIFIED PARENT
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November 30, 2012
KHMS HAS FAILED THE STUDENTS & THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITY. I DO NOT LIVE IN A LOW INCOME HOUSING AND MY CHILDREN HAS BEEN TREATED LIKE CRAP OFF OF ASSUMPTION & DEFAMATION,I WON MY CASE AT THE SCHOOL BOARD AGAINST KMHS. WHAT OTHER HIGH SCHOOL YOU CAN GO TO FOR 4 YEARS FAIL ALL OF YOUR CLASSES & PAY FOR YOUR HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMIA AT THE TIME OF GRADUATION OR KEEP SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS ENROLLED LONG AFTER GRADUATION FOR GOVERNMENT GRANT MONEY....ACCEPT THE FACT THAT MR.DANIELS HIDES IN HIS OFFICE & THE ENTIRE STAFF RUNS THE SCHOOL & THIS SCHOOL IS GOING DOWN THE DRAIN BECAUSE OF DISCRIMINATION & MISTREATION. I DON'T AGREE WITH BAD BEHAVIOR OF THE STUDENTS I AM VERY HAPPY NO ONE GOT HURT,BUT THE SCHOOL IS FINALLY REAPING WHAT THEY ALLOWED TO BE SOWN BY ROTTEN DIRTY LOWDOWN LYING STAFFING & A HIDING PRINCIPAL. SORRY-KHMS IS NOT YOUR PRECIOUS MODEL SCHOOL YOU THOUGHT IT WAS & I WOULD PROUDLY SUE THEM AGAIN! #you have to be hands-on & CARING Mr.Daniels the students do not see your presence or the parents can not have a personal one on one meeting with you...you've failed us!
Class of 2010
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December 01, 2012
I saw Dr. Daniels every single day for the three years he was my principal. He was an extremely kind of attentive principal (and overall person. My mother works one-on-one with him now. He AND his wife volunteered to chair for her committee while she works on her PhD.

Say what whatever else you want, but it's blatantly false to say that "the students do not see [his] presence or that parents cannot have a personal one-on-one meeting with [him]."
anonymous
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December 01, 2012
Thank you for making me smile.
Proud KMHS Student
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December 01, 2012
This is ridiculous. Dr. Daniel* is the most selfless guy I have ever met. He spends his days walking around the school, visiting classes, greeting students, staff and faculty! He interacts with everyone and always has a positive outlook, without being outrageously unrealistic. I understand that you're worried about the safety of students, but you can't say anything about the staff as you don't spend most of your day there like a student would. You can't blame Dr. Daniel or the staff for hiding. He wasn't hiding and I saw he communicated with everyone multiple times throughout the day letting us know more about the situation. We all respect him highly at the Mountain. The students and staff will always be in support of such an incredible guy with such high values and leadership skills who has taken KMHS to the next level.
bad policies
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November 30, 2012
The school should have informed the parents earlier and not a vague message on the website. Also, threats like this should be taken more seriously. It could be a couple of kids screwing around, but you never know until someone pulls out a gun and starts shooting, in which case it is too late.
Bob Bummer
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November 30, 2012
This article is a little vague on the details of the threatening tweets? Can someone be more specific?
kmhs student 2
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November 30, 2012
there was alledgedly going to be a shooting from a small group of people that they publically anounced on twitter by telling their main target they were going to shoot him.
Kick 'Em Out
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November 30, 2012
I hate to be a crank, but kick them out!!! There should be zero tolerance for this type of anti-social behavior, and I really don't care who the parents may or may not be. If they had some semblance of control over their kids we would not have had this happen today. Let's also charge them for the law enforcement that had to be called in today.
kmhs student
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November 30, 2012
to the best of my knowledge they were kicked out.
Poor Execution
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November 30, 2012
Agree that the parents should have been notified last evening, so a decision could be made whether or not to send children to school. Also, for those of us parents not in the know, the message posted on the website never divulged the problem or situation at hand. Once again, a highly educated leader, the principle Dr. Daniels, dropped the ball here. It would have been nice to inform parents what the situation was, and not take for granted everyone knew.
Uh huh
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November 30, 2012
And with those emails would have been thousands of replies, to which no one would have been able to respond. Then you would be complaining that no one responded to "your" emailed reply. It is easy to criticize the principal for the way he handled the situation. I don't think that ANY way that he handled it would not have been to your liking. He handled it fine. He involved the appropriate authorities and did not start a panic.
easy to blame
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December 01, 2012
I am sure this was handled the way the police and school system worked together on. If they are investigating something you can't just go run right out and make it public. I love how the blame starts right away. They had extra police at the school all day. What is even worse, is that parent's were checking their kids out on a day like today, when nothing will happen because of the extra police on campus. What did this teach the children, run from problems.
Grade of F
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November 30, 2012
Parents should have been notified last night! Why did the administration keep this a secret for so long?

It was a complete disaster today as 1,000 /- kids checked out. A weak and vague notice was not posted on the school's website until several hours into the school day. An email or calling post should have been sent last night or at least first thing this morning. This was a huge waste of time for many parents. It would have been better to keep all kids at home until the police completed their investigation.
Concerned Parent
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November 30, 2012
I agree parents should have been notofied earlier. What happened to blast phone call that I get about other news,

why not this. I would have preferred hearing about the situation from the school and not the disturbing text messages from my child. I was traveling today and felt helpless, no one would answer the school phone. I would suggest a review of the school's performance and invite parents and students to participate.
Kmhs Parent
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November 30, 2012
I received a blast phone call at 11:00 this morning directing me to view the website. This was after my son had already texted saying there was talk of gang/gun violence happening and many police officers there. Of course my immediate response was to send him to the attendance office to be checked out.

Perhaps if I were to receive a call before school telling me the situation was under control and security was being stepped up, I would have felt comfortable leaving him there.

.
KMHS Student
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November 30, 2012
The shooting was allegedly going to happen in the break between D lunch (3rd period) and 4th period, which was 1:55 to 2:00. If nothing has happened yet, I doubt anything will.
kmhs student
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November 30, 2012
I have always felt safe at school, but this past year has been terrible. there is a fight almost everyday after third. Also the school has not operated a "code red" drill in two years. They need to have a plan of action.
Another Parent
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November 30, 2012
My kid has told of fights ALL week in court yard. Has pictures of 100 kids in circle around it. What is being done about that?
READER 2
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November 30, 2012
Who has he told? If he is telling you, who have you told?
Watcher...
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November 30, 2012
Please, immediately turn these pictures over to the local Police Department or to the Cobb County Sheriff's Department.
Kmhs parent
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November 30, 2012
Seems like the police have been at the school a few times this week because of fights already. I , too, have seen my child's pictures of kids gathered in the courtyard waiting for a fight to happen with police officers in the background. They know what is going.
KMHS Kid
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November 30, 2012
Monday- no assistance

Tuesday- staff assistance

Wednesday- police assistance

Thursday- enhanced police assistance

Friday- Kennesaw police assistance

My source is my own two eyes and the eyes of likely more than 1,000 people.
kmhs student
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November 30, 2012
they are doing alot about it because, first things first the fights are scheduled so the teachers know and break them up as soon as they start and then half the time they croud up and nothing happens. P.S. everybody in the school knows about these and the shooting rumor was just the next step in the process but I assure you they are doing everything in there power to change that.
Jeff A. Taylor
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November 30, 2012
Admin and the police better be able to produce something beyond the vague banter about someone bringing a gun to school and somehow, somewhere shooting someone that was running among KMHS Twitter feeds last night. Most of banter called the rumor absurd.

Supposedly 30 odd kids were called down to the office before they dismissed school for the day, which tells me they really didn't have a specific, credible threat from any single student, just a lot of chatter.

And cue the insipid "better safe than sorry" line. Adults are supposed to have better judgment than kids -- not worse.
Parent of KMHS stude
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November 30, 2012
And apparently there was a picture posted from a particular kid then removed of himself holding a gun, tagging a few kids in it, telling them to watch out. Have also heard that this may have spawned from some kids at Harrison. Are they being checked out as well???
Reverie
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November 30, 2012
So, are you suggesting the school overreacted? The parents overreacted? I too saw those tweats and you are right, the students were dismissive but NOT about the validity of the threat. They were struck by the stupidity of the threat. Several suggested it was embarrassing for the school. Why would "better safe than sorry" be insipid? "lacking in qualities that interest, stimulate, or challenge : dull, flat". How does that become "Insipid"? The students, parents and administration worked with the Police and did a great job. Personally I would have preferred the students stay at the school but as a parent, I understand your urge to remove your child, your responsibility from the situation and let the authorities straighten it out.
KMHS Student
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November 30, 2012
I'm a student at KMHS who left school around noon. It hasn't been dismissed for the day yet, but students are being allowed to leave if their parents want to pick them up. The teachers are just saying that it's only talk and nothing will actually happen and they refuse to put the school on lockdown until someone actually pulls a gun.
Get it right
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November 30, 2012
Lakeside Vista Apartment kids trying to act like gangstas. Over 900 kids checked out today before lunch, when this supposed "gunfight" was to start. Ridiculous. Can you say, transitional housing. No wonder Pope and Lassiter never have problems like this, there are no apartments over there or trailer parks that are low rent. A few years ago it was the Osborne kids that were bused in causing trouble at KMHS and they were sent away....hopefully we'll get rid of these morons too and get back to getting an education. KMHS is a diverse, magnet school and one of the best in the county....let's keep the kids learning and get rid of this scurge.
KMHS Parent
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November 30, 2012
Jeff Taylor -

The school has to investigate all that comes across their desk to determine whether information is true or not. The school is legally responsible for all the students on their campus. The school did use good judgement and I thank them for protecting our students.
anonymous
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November 30, 2012
They handled the situation as they should have. What is chatter to you may actually be a credible threat. Nothing should be considered vague when the banter involves guns or violence. Who is to say, until all is investigated. Shame on you for bashing the school, the police and the concerned adults.
KMHS student
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November 30, 2012
lakeside vista kids should not be blamed for the situation that happened. no lakeside vista boy or girl was arrested today of my knowledge. i feels as though saying something like that towards the whole neighborhood was really insecure of you. lakeside does not have the best reputation but the things that has happened today would not be coming from them. THINK BEFORE YOU SAY!
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