Rumors lead to false threat at Viola, Ark. school

FULTON COUNTY, Ar. -- School threats: some are real, others aren't. Although a false threat can still create quite a stir in a small community. As was the case Thursday for one small district in northern Arkansas.

Here at Viola High School, a series of text messages between two students created quite the buzz on Thursday. Rumors were there was a threat made against the school. But Sheriff Al Roork says there was never an actual threat.

"People of Fulton County do know me....very well, Sheriff Al Roork told KY3. They know that if that individual had even got close to a threat, he would be in my jail today. But he didn't and I made sure of that personally."

Before they knew for sure, school leaders immediately began taking precautions.

Authorities were called and Sheriff Roork personally interviewed an 18-year-old boy about every text he had sent to the other student.

"I take this serious as every sheriff takes it. Anytime these things happen, it concerns us and we want to be sure," Roork said.

Roork says another student, one that did not receive the text messages, circulated rumors of a threat.

"It got out of hand by being told and being told," Roork explained.

But the climate surrounding school threats nowadays is why school officials and law enforcement say they responded the way they did.

"I'm confident that there is no threat, Roork added. But we're glad that they brought it to light and they've took some action on these two individuals. They've sent them home for a couple of days."

Superintendent John May told KY3 that a voice call alert was sent via the district's Blackboard Connect alert system.

A system, May says the district uses quite often.

An email from the system reported that 81% of the parents in the system were notified. That's because some parents chose only to receive alerts via text and thus were not sent a voice call.

In the future, to make sure all parents receive the alert, the school will soon go through its list and make sure every parent is signed up for call and text alerts.

Roork says a deputy will be at the school again next week just as a precaution.