Unsubstantiated online threat, fights on campus causes high school to see attendance drop

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Unfounded threats online and fights the day before caused a drop in attendance at Midway High School on Thursday.

Midway High School Principal Alison Smith said in the letter Wednesday that “Some individual students were involved in altercations at multiple points today. The district takes matters of violence very seriously and will be pursuing all disciplinary measures provided by the Student Code of Conduct, the Texas Education Code, and applicable laws.”

She also said one of the incidents led to a rumor of a weapon on the sprawling campus, which turned out to be false.

Police reinforcements were called to campus, however, and investigated and searched the building.

District spokeswoman Traci Marlin also elaborated that the fights only involved individual students and not groups and the district does not expect a similar situation going forward.

But that preliminary attendance numbers show only 86 percent of students went to class Thursday, down from 94 percent on the same day a year ago.

Marlin also confirmed eight students were placed in the district's alternative program.

Smith later sent an email to parents alerting them about a series of Snapchat messages circulating on social media that caused concern among students, parents and school officials.

The posts were investigated by administrators and police.

They were originally found to be an intimidation message directly related to those involved in the recent altercations. But, then was misinterpreted by some to be a school threat.

Smith said school officials do not believe the original post or interpretations are credible threats.

In a letter to parents on Thursday, the principal thanks them for their patience and encouraged them to talk to their children.

"Even though, our students were understandably distracted by the rumors. Please take time to talk to your students about school security, and make sure they feel safe at school and that they know trusted adults are available to discuss their feelings."

Marlin also confirmed that the increase in police will remain on Friday.