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Tamaqua school responds to threatening posts

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    Tamaqua Police were at the Tamaqua Area Senior High School Monday morning after a bad joke about school shootings. The parking lot had more than a dozen empty spaces as concerned parents kept students home. KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS

Published November 20. 2017 12:46PM

Social media posts caused a concern among high school parents in Tamaqua this weekend, prompting a message from the school district.

“There have been no specific threats made to the Tamaqua Area High School for Monday, Nov. 20,” were the words parents and guardians received Sunday night and early Monday morning through the Tamaqua Area School District’s “Remind” system after social media blew up over the weekend.

The message continued, “Unfortunately last week we did have a few incidents that were concerning. The district followed all procedures to ensure student safety. We believe that the information circulating now is a culmination of last week’s events. Once again, there has not been a specific threat made to the Tamaqua Area High School for Monday, Nov. 20.”

The message came from senior high school Principal Thomas McCabe.

Last week’s incidents included drug sweeps on Thursday and Friday in which more than a dozen students were caught with illegal substances in their lockers.

Those included students in the freshman, junior and sophomore classes. Those students face 10-day suspensions.

Also on Thursday, according to Tamaqua Police Cpl. Henry Woods, three students were overheard having a conversation in a locker room about school shootings. At one point, a student was warned to stay away from school on Friday. The student who overheard the conversation reported it to the principal.

Tamaqua Superintendent Raymond Kinder and Woods met with the students and their parents Thursday night and determined the conversation was just that, a conversation. None of the students had access to weapons.

Woods said the students admitted that it was a dumb, inappropriate comment.

For student safety, the three students reported directly to the administration office on Friday morning, where they each received a two-day suspension.

Woods says word of the drug sweeps and the “threats” made the rounds of social media over the weekend, causing concern for parents, students and administrators alike. That led to the notices sent to those who registered for the “Remind” feature.

In addition, Tamaqua Police had three patrol cars at the high school when students arrived this morning.

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