Mayan 2012 Predictions Fuel School Safety Rumors, Concerns

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The concern is natural and, in light of recent events understandable. Its source is less so.

Take a real life tragedy in Connecticut last Friday, add pop culture hype and misinformation about dire predictions the Mayan calendar concerning this Friday.

Let both stew in the fertile brew of social media, the internet and the everyday penchant for young minds to spawn rumors and seek to avoid school and you can see where this has led.

"We're seeing multiple incidents posted on social media and rumors flying all over social media about various events happening in the community on Friday due to the supposed Mayan end of the world scenario," says Washoe County School District Deputy Police Chief Jason Trevino.

We first heard about the rumors at Reed High School, but we're told they've popped up at a number of other schools.

Marcy Howard's son is a sophomore at Reed. He texted her Tuesday saying he wanted to miss school Friday.

"I said tell me what's going on," says Howard. "So, he told me there were rumors going around at school yesterday that a kid was going to bring a gun to school Friday and do a shooting."

She added that he told her administrators announced the rumors on the school's intercom and offered a reward for information on its source.

That part would have been routine. Most local schools have a Secret Witness program in place and use the offer of rewards to prompt kids to come forward with information about any crimes or incidents of concern.

Howard admits she was unfamiliar with the program.

By evening she and other parents had received a message from the school administration that the rumors were apparently related to some people's belief that Friday marked the end of the Mayan calendar and the world.

It added that those rumors were being investigated and it reassured them that safety of their children was a top priority.

It didn't satisfy Howard.

"As soon as it happened I would have preferred to have been notified immediately."

Trevino says the school district is keeping parents in the loop when they've established some facts, However, "in light of what's happened in Connecticut we need to vet any information that does go to the parents before they hear any rumors. but we can't put out any rumor information because that generates even more questions from parents."

In fact, Trevino says they've been very busy with these rumors the past few days, but to be clear and to date, the investigations have led nowhere.

"The problem that we're having with all of these rumors is that there is no one specific to run down because it seems to be truly a Facebook initiated type of spreading of rumor that no one will step up and accept responsibility for."

So to review, the schools are aware of the rumors.

Investigations have turned up nothing more than the vaguest leads, nothing specific.

There's a lot being done today and every day to keep our schools safe.

And, unfortunately, there's a lot being done on the internet and the media to make us afraid of non-existent threats like the Mayan calendar, which does not, by the way, predict the end of the world.