2020 | Police & Fire

Police say threat against Blair High School not credible

Anonymous message cites bullying, harassment

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Blair-HS

Montgomery Blair High School

via MCPS

Police said an anonymous message posted to social media that threatened violence against people at Montgomery Blair High School was not credible, according to school district officials.

The message, posted to Tellonym, a social media app that allows users to make anonymous posts, said the poster is “tired of these people at Blair constantly harrassing (sic) and hurting me.”

“I am reaching my breaking point, and I will soon do something I know I will regret later on,” the message said. “Please stop passively bullying students, before I end your f—ing lives.”

The message was reported by a parent to Blair Principal Renay Johnson over the weekend, who notified authorities.

At 11:05 a.m. Monday, a message from Johnson said police had identified the student who posted the message and that the threat was not credible.

“The student confessed to posting the threat and there was only one student involved in this incident,” Johnson’s message said.

Police told school officials the investigation took longer than usual because it was an anonymous post, so they had to contact owners of the app, according to MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala.

Additional police were at the school as a precaution on Monday, Onijala said.

But some parents remained concerned that the problem had not been resolved when classes began on Monday.

A.J. Campbell, a Takoma Park mother of a sophomore at Blair, said she sent her daughter to school, but she knew of several parents who did not.

The problem, Campbell said, was the lack of information about the investigation.

Johnson sent a message to the community on Sunday evening that said the school was aware of a “threat of violence against our school.” It said police were investigating and that Johnson is aware threats can cause “anxiety and fear for students and community.”

Anyone found to have made an online threat will “face discipline aligned with the Student Code of Conduct,” Johnson wrote.

A message at 8:20 a.m. on Monday said police were still investigating, but provided no new information.

“We are told that there is a serious threat that MCPS is taking seriously,” Campbell wrote in an email Monday morning. “As parents, we are asked to then make a determination on the safety of sending our kids to school. We don’t have enough information to make that call.”

Onijala said students who did not attend school on Monday because of concerns about the threat would need to provide a note from a parent to receive an excused absence.

Onijala urged any students who are being bullied to notify school officials or another trusted adult and complete the official bullying reporting form available in each school’s main office.

“If we’re unaware of the bullying, it’s hard for the school system to respond and act accordingly because the information we need isn’t there,” Onijala said. “Bullying will not be tolerated. … Our desire is that schools are safe and welcoming environments for all students.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com