Breaking news: Circling rumor of gun violence terrifies Carlmont students and families

A rumor about a school shooting scared students into staying home from school


Phoebe Gulsen

Many classrooms have less than half of the class, because of the high number of absences.

*Article updated Feb. 20

On Monday, Feb. 14, there were a noticeable amount of absences from Carlmont High School. Over half of the students were gone in most classes, and even some teachers decided not to attend. 

On Sunday, an email was sent out by interim principal Sean Priest regarding a rumor circulating at Carlmont High School. The rumor was that a school shooting would occur on Monday.

Belmont police started their investigation into the rumor on Friday, Feb. 11, but found no facts to back it up. Many students, however, stayed home from school to ensure their safety. In addition, the school worked with the Belmont Police Department (BPD) to keep the school safe. 

Julia Mates, mayor of Belmont, addressed people’s concerns, saying that the threats were not backed up by evidence and the student who made the alleged threats had been found. BPD also posted a tweet addressing the matter.

The school district has specific protocols for rumors such as these. Priest explained these policies.

“Schools, police, and other county agencies have a coordinated set of protocols they follow when rumors such as these come to our attention. By completing each step in the process thoroughly and systematically, officials determine if any threat exists and act accordingly,” Priest said. 

It was a quiet day at Carlmont on Monday, and no violent actions occurred. The school was also kept safe by the presence of police on campus throughout the day. 

“It felt like a ghost town, and every class was extremely tense. The doors were also locked and closed for the first time in a long time,” said Katherine Li, a junior at Carlmont.

However, the rumor did cause some annoyances as some teachers had to reschedule tests and quizzes due to the high volume of absences. In addition, the majority of the school could not experience ASB’s rose and letter distribution for Valentine’s day. Some students felt that because the principal and police stressed that the rumor should not be seen as a great concern, students were using it simply as an excuse to miss class.

“I feel like some kids maybe just took advantage of this situation and decided to skip school just for the fun of it,” said Kavita Vaish, a sophomore who attended school. 

Priest commented on the district’s dedication to ensuring Carlmont is a safe environment every day on campus. 

“I see a great opportunity here to build trust by helping our community understand what measures are in place to ensure Carlmont is a safe place each day.  When the school says, ‘We know about rumors, we investigated them per our inter-agency protocols, and no threat is evident,’ folks should understand what that means and be assured by it,” Priest said.

BPD and Carlmont High School remain in close contact to maintain the safety of everyone at Carlmont.