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Forum Communications, Published December 20 2012

Minot schools closing Friday amid threats, rumors

MINOT, N.D. – Minot Public Schools canceled classes today following rumors surrounding the Mayan calendar and concerns about student safety.

Superintendent Mark Vollmer announced that all classes and school-related activities will be canceled today, the day that ancient Mayans supposedly prophesized the end of the world.

Voller said the decision came after rumors began circulating last week that students were going to bring guns to school today and a threat on the Minot Air Force Base on Thursday that prompted several schools to be locked down.

Vollmer said the school was not able to substantiate any of the gun rumors but many parents had already said they would not send their kids to school.

Grand Forks School District sent a message Thursday to parents dispelling multiple rumors that have circulated over the past few days of possible school safety threats at Central and Red River high schools.

“There have been rumors circulating regarding school safety at Red River High School and Central High School. Due to the heightened sensitivity surrounding school safety, we felt it was important to communicate directly with you about this matter. School district administration and the Grand Forks Police Department have extensively investigated all rumors and determined them to be unfounded and without merit.”

“While it is concerning that false rumors are circulating and causing an increase in anxiety,” Grand Forks School Superintendent Larry Nybladh said, “I am pleased that students have reported information to school leaders, and I am grateful to the officers of the Grand Forks Police Department for their extensive investigation of each and every rumor. I have confidence in their information and advice.”

The escalation of rumors is a common occurrence in the aftermath of an event such as the one last week in Connecticut, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report