Rumors on social media caused many students to miss school
Social media posts about a threat against San Marcos High School led 1,100 students to stay home from school Monday — and district officials said the threat was unfounded.
Andrew Fernandez, executive director of communications for SMCISD, said on Sunday night a parent posted on social media about a possible threat at the high school. As a result, he said, attendance was “horrible” at the high school on Monday. Fernandez said police investigated the threat and said it was unfounded.
“It’s not fair to our students,” Fernandez said. “They shouldn’t experience anxiety about coming to class.”
Fernandez said Monday’s attendance at the high school was at 63 percent. On Tuesday, attendance was at 91 percent.
At least one parent posted on Facebook about a threat that some students were bringing guns to school on Monday. The post came several days after a fight in the San Marcos High School cafeteria also garnered social media attention. Some Facebook users said the fight, which occurred last Wednesday, involved guns and knives and that someone was stabbed. Rumors that multiple fights had broken out began spreading. Fernandez said there was just one fight at the high school on Wednesday and that no weapons were involved and no one was stabbed.
“All the students involved have been disciplined accordingly,” Fernandez said.
On Monday, SMCISD Superintendent Michael Cardona sent a letter out to parents asking them to refrain from posting unfounded rumors on social media.
“Yesterday evening, through social media, one parent spread an unfounded rumor that students were bringing weapons to San Marcos High School today,” the letter states. “Within hours, our community responded with considerable anxiety about the safety of their children. San Marcos Police Department attempted to identify any possible truth to the initial social media post and determined it was not a credible threat. Still, in order to demonstrate that we take any concern about school safety seriously, we opened the high school this morning with eight officers present in support of our students and staff.
“Last week, there was a brief fight in the cafeteria where students were disciplined for inciting or participating in the altercation. We took the situation seriously, administered consequences appropriately, and communicated with our families immediately. Social media posts quickly began speculating about a stabbing on campus. We teach students digital citizenship and counsel them when their online activity creates a school disruption. Adults in our community should hold themselves to that same standard of responsibility.” (Cardona’s full letter appears on today’s Opinion page in the Daily Record.)
SMCISD trustee John McGlothlin tweeted on Monday morning that he dropped his child off himself at San Marcos High School that day.
“I really appreciate SMPD, the HS staff and central admin for caring about our kids so much,” McGlothlin tweeted. “Real life and Facebook life are very different.”