ELKTON — Police maintained a high profile at Elkton High School on Monday after it was referenced in threat of gun violence posted on social media, marking the second time in 10 days that law enforcement officers responded to the school for that type of situation, according to Capt. Joseph Zurolo, an Elkton Police Department spokesman.
The online threat — which was assessed by detectives and found to be not credible — did not force officials to close school Monday, nor did it result in an early dismissal, reported Zurolo, noting that the regular school and after-school schedule was not altered.
“We deployed extra manpower, extra officers, to Elkton High School today, after we were made aware of the post. It was discovered early this morning — I'm talking 1 a.m., 2 a.m. — and brought to our attention. I don't know by who,” Zurolo said, adding that EPD planned to maintain the high police profile throughout the school day.
In addition, according to Zurolo, EPD took preventative measures at all other schools within the agency's jurisdiction on Monday, even though EHS was the only school referenced in the online threat.
“We also initiated a safety protocol for the other schools. We paid attention to them,” Zurolo said, adding, “But I cannot give out our strategies and protocol.”
Kelly Keeton, a Cecil County Public Schools spokeswoman, reported that the online threat referencing EHS was discovered before school started on Monday morning and, in response, the principal, John Roush, notified parents of students by way of a group email and through an automated phone message.
CCPS and EPD did not post information concerning the threat and the resulting high police profile at EHS on their Facebook pages.
Information concerning the situation did appear, however, in an open letter that Roush posted on the Elkton High School Facebook page at approximately 6 a.m. Monday.
His posts reads, “I have received information this morning in regard to a threat to Elkton High School through social media. The Elkton Police Department and the Cecil County Sheriff's Office are actively investigating this threat and it is our determination that the threat is not credible. There will be an increased police presence at the school this morning to facilitate a smooth school opening.”
As for who posted the online threat, Zurolo commented, “Our detectives are actively and aggressively trying to identify the source of this threat.”
On March 16, after the EHS office received, in rapid succession, “four different calls” indicating that a bomb had been planted in that school, students were dismissed early — around noon — and teachers, administrators and other staff left the building. Maryland State Police troopers with specially trained scent dogs scanned the school, finding no explosive devices, and investigators ruled the bomb threat unsubstantiated.