Canadian ISD, HCSO officials respond to persistent rumors of gun violence threats

The repercussions from the Feb. 14 shootings at a Parkland, Florida, high school, continued to be felt this week throughout the nation, as the surviving students returned to classes on Wednesday. Canadian ISD and other Panhandle school districts were not immune from those effects.

On Tuesday morning, Canadian ISD Superintendent Kyle Lynch and Hemphill County Sheriff Nathan Lewis responded to resurgent rumors of threatened school-related gun violence by issuing a joint statement: “In reference to the Facebook posting about a threat to CHS: it has been investigated and determined from interviewing students that it stems from a rumor previously investigated by the HSCO and CISD Admin. It has been determined that there is no imminent threat of violence. We’ll continue to monitor the situation. Please report concerns to HSCO or CISD, rather than social media.”

The rumors first circulated at Canadian High School last week, and were immediately investigated by school authorities. Superintendent Lynch said interviews were conducted with several students, and with parents, and reported to The Record that the rumors of threatened gun violence were completely unsubstantiated.

A separate investigation was performed by Sheriff Nathan Lewis, who issued the following statement on Monday, when the rumors persisted: “The Sheriff’s office was notified Friday that a student had made threats of violence toward other students. We investigated this incident Friday, identified the student, and took necessary action to resolve this incident. There is no threat of a violent act occurring in the schools.”

When new rumors began circulating Tuesday in the form of text messages among Canadian Middle School students, both school and law enforcement officials again investigated. They determined that the messages were references to last week’s incident, and ruled out any new threat concerns.

Both Lynch and Sheriff Lewis have asked that parents, students and citizens report any additional concerns directly to either HCSO at 806.323.5324 or Canadian ISD at 806.323.5393, rather than on social media, where such reports only tend to generate new rumors that are hurtful and can negatively impact innocent children, and which cause additional, unfounded alarm. They assure the public that these matters are being taken very seriously by their offices, and that they will continue to carefully monitor the situation.

TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY, including “Backlash in aftermath of Florida shooting affects area schools,” and “What is the state of security at CISD?” click on this link to read our e-Edition, or pick up a copy of this week’s print edition on local newsstands.

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