TAHLEQUAH — UPDATE at 2:25 p.m. Thursday:
Staff writer Josh Newton spoke with Tahlequah Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Presley about the rumors going around Tahlequah High School.
Presley said School Resource Officer Chris Smith on Wednesday evening began investigating a rumor that reportedly indicated a gun might be brought to THS Thursday. Presley said administrators have been unable to track down the source of the rumor, but they do not believe it is directly tied to a threat made toward THS on Wednesday.
(That threat and subsequent investigation led to a student being removed from campus Wednesday.)
THS had extra law enforcement on campus today, but the school was not in lock down mode. Presley said there are estimates that as many as a third of the THS students left school early after the rumors began to float around Thursday morning.
NO gun has been found on the THS campus.
"We can't even corroborate this or find anybody who was the source of the rumor," said Presley. "As best we can tell, it's just a rumor. I don't know if someone overheard somebody else and something got twisted into this rumor. We're not sure, honestly."
Tahlequah Police Department is investigating allegations of threats and taking steps to make Tahlequah High School’s campus more secure today.
Police Chief Nate King confirmed extra officers were dispatched to THS today.
“We’ve been told of the possibility of a gun being brought to school, but we haven’t confirmed that. We feel like it’s probably a spin-off of the incident that happened yesterday related to social media,” King said.
King was referring to the questioning of a student over so-called “confessional” Twitter accounts, wherein explicitly sexual content and threats have been posted.
Rumors have run rampant as local and school officials have tried to curtail problems stemming from these social media sites.
“Any threat of violence will be taken seriously,” King said. “We’re trying to run down the source of these rumors. If anyone has information about where the rumor started, tell a teacher or school resource officer, or call TPD.”
Parents who have been texting the Daily Press about today’s scenario say their children have told them an assembly was planned for later today to address the problems.