As students texted their parents on Thursday during the report of a possible active shooter at Maize South High, social media began to buzz.
“I talked to my daughter, and so I knew something was going on and she said it could be an active shooter threat of some kind,” says Wende Doyle, a Maize South High parent. “But I wanted to know more.”
While the school district put out on its Facebook page that the threat was a false alarm by 11:20 a.m., after the possible threat was called into police at 10:45 a.m.
“Despite rumors, there is no threat or active shooter at Maize South High School. All students are safe. Law enforcement officials are on the scene and investigating a report,” the posting stated. “Staff members are working to communicate further details. At this time, we believe this is misinformation or a false report.”
Other schools in the Wichita area say social media moves fast, and they also have to move quickly when communicating with parents and students.
“I think in this climate of social media, social media plays out so much faster that what a school or business or government agency can operate,” says Kapaun Mt. Carmel Principal, Christopher Bloomer. “It’s really difficult for us to keep up and yet the desire for that information is almost insatiable.”
Principal Bloomer says the need for speed in communicating has to be balanced, so schools may take a little longer than some parents would like getting new information out.
“We obviously want to be as accurate and as quick as possible and yet we want to provide the most current information so that they have the best information so they can make the decisions they need to make,” explains Bloomer. “And we are always looking for ways to improve. But, yeah, the vast majority of parents appreciate that communication, that information.”
In Maize, at the end of the day, Doyle says she always looks for information as soon as she can find it. But, she also feels confident in the school system when it comes to safety.
“I have full confidence in all of the Maize administration and teachers,” says Wende Doyle. “So I feel like they have protocols in place that whatever need to be done to keep our kids safe, that’s what they were going to do.”