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Rumors of a School Shooting Circulate at Area Districts

A rumor of a school shooting on Friday, which has been deemed an unsubstantiated threat, has created unease among parents and students in the wake of Friday's tragedy.

It’s hard to believe, but just days after the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, school district administrators in the southeastern Wisconsin are addressing a potential shooting threat at their districts.

Late Tuesday, Hamilton School District administrators received calls from parents who were hearing rumors from their children of a potential threat. Denise Lindberg, public information officer for the district, said administrators investigated the specific claims and none were substantiated.

“We are grateful to the parents and students who let us know when they are hearing things outside of school, and encourage people to contact us if they have specific information that we can investigate,” Lindberg said in an email to Patch. “Given what occurred in Connecticut last week, it is understandable for people to have a heightened concern for safety in our schools. We will continue to investigate rumors and take measures to protect students from danger.”

Lindberg said the district sent out a notice to parents Wednesday afternoon.

Several other districts in the area are taking precautions in response to a rumor that began circulating on Facebook. According to a report from the Waukesha Police Department, a rumor circulated via social media of a possible shooting at Waukesha North High School on Friday.

"At this point, this information is being released simply to inform and not to alarm or cause a panic," stated the Waukesha Police Department in a Tuesday news release. "The Waukesha School District and Police Department are working jointly to address the rumors as neighboring schools in the District have experienced a similar situation. This is most likely fueled by the ability to quickly communicate through the use of social networking sites."

Waukesha school officials said they would take extra precautions, and are tightening school security and locking all doors. The rumor that originated on Facebook spread to students and parents in Sussex, Waukesha, and Oak Creek Tuesday.

In a letter to parents, Oak Creek Superintendent Sara Burmeister said the threat is not considered credible, but the Oak Creek Police Department is taking it seriously and investigating.

"This rumor has raised considerable anxiety among parents, coming as it does right after the unfathomable horror of the tragic shootings in Connecticut and while the shooting at the Sikh Temple is still fresh in our minds," Burmeister said.

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