RICHLAND, Wash. -- The Mayan end-of-the-world doomsday prediction for Friday has created rumors of violence at our local schools. Staffers at Richland High School say they are taking them seriously even though they appear to be just a hoax.
"Kids are going to bring weapons to protect themselves, there's going to be a shoot out at the school, at the assembly this morning there was going to be a shooting and there was a couple of text messages that there was already a shooting at Richland High," said Assistant Superintendent Todd Baddley of the rumors he's been hearing about what's going to happen Friday at Richland High School.
Baddley said he has been taking calls from concerned parents and other school districts all day, but he says after a thorough investigation with staff and students, it appears to be just rumors that spread out of control. "We would expel those students and we have not had to do that yet because we don't have any," added Baddley.
Richland Police however are not treating the rumors lightly. "We've increased staff presence. We've implemented some of the pre-deployment strategies that we had in place in the event threats like this are received. And the operation plans that we've developed in the last few years are being implemented now," said Richland Police Captain Mike Cobb.
He said expect to see a heavier police presence at schools and not just at Richland. " I know the Pasco School District is dealing with something, I'm not certain about their scenarios, I know Connell too, I know its down in Vancouver. It's around the state," said Baddley.
Earlier Thursday, law enforcement and risk assessment professionals briefed the Richland School Board about safety precautions in place. They are considering doing a vulnerability assessment as well. Captain Cobb said, he's confident their last decade of prep work and training has Emergency Responders ready in case of an emergency.
"We have drilled it, we have re-written policies, we have drilled it again. We've used unfortunately some of the events that are not drills," said Cobb.
Police said all agencies are working together on this and they advise anyone who hears anything, true or not, to report it to police.