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In Pocono Mountain, School Officials Ask Students Not to Spread Rumors

MONROE COUNTY — The deadly school massacre in Florida has sparked worry across the country. Nationally, sales of bulletproof backpacks have soared. Here i...

MONROE COUNTY -- The deadly school massacre in Florida has sparked worry across the country.

Nationally, sales of bulletproof backpacks have soared.

Here in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, several students have been charged in connection with threats at their schools.

In other school districts, parents have received phone messages and texts about threats that have been investigated and found to be not credible.

"I do worry, but hopefully, the school has learned from other incidents and can take appropriate safety measures and take it from there,” said parent Ishmael DeJesus of Pocono Summit.

Officials in the Pocono Mountain School District have investigated recent rumors of possible school violence and say thankfully those rumors are just that: rumors.

Still, people remain on edge.

"I'm sorry. It's upsetting. It's upsetting, and I get anxiety, you know? I just feel so bad for all those parents and students in Florida and you think about Sandy Hook, which is my little guy's age, so it makes you think about cyber school or going a route where you feel like your children might be safer,” said one mother who did not want to be identified.

Pocono Mountain's superintendent is spending this week visiting students in each school in the district to send this message: if you have seen something or heard something concerning, contact a trusted adult, but do not share that information on social media because it can spiral out of control and create panic.

"I think it's a good start. I don't know if kids are gonna take to it because they kind of do their own thing. They're kind of rebellious sometimes, but I think it's a good start,” said Matthew Banton of Coolbaugh Township.

School leaders also want anxious parents to know they will share information if and when they can.

In a statement to Newswatch 16, Pocono Mountain school leaders said:

"It's important for parents to understand that our priority and responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students, our employees and our schools. That means before we can communicate with our parents…we need to notify the police and investigate."

"I would like maybe some transparency on how they did view the threat and handle it and what they did to declare that it wasn't serious,” said one mother.

School officials in Pocono Mountain are also speaking with students this week about seeking help if they feel anxious or depressed.