Talk of violence in St. Lucie, Indian River schools unfounded law officials say

Law enforcement officials in Indian River and St. Lucie counties said they are battling unfounded talk on social media sites of impending violence at schools on Friday, one week to the day after the Connecticut school shootings.

In an automated call to school parents Wednesday night, Vero Beach High School Principal Shawn O'Keefe assured them that it is business as usual at his school in the midst of "trying times for our nation."

He said rumors in Indian River County have been found "to be of no substance." The Sheriff Office heard talk that someone might explode a bomb at the high school, he said.

"No one said this is what is going to happen," said Sheriff Daryl Loar. "It was just a rumor."

Fort Pierce police were contacted by a person on Wednesday who said messages on Facebook are saying some unknown people are planning to "shoot up" schools, possibly including Westwood and Fort Pierce Central high schools and Forest Grove Middle School, all in Fort Pierce.

Police officials aren't commenting about the reports that are being investigated.

They "are being taken seriously as potentially credible and are being investigated at individual schools with the support of school resource officers and local law enforcement," said St. Lucie County School District spokeswoman Janice Karst.

"Parents should know the full seriousness with which the school district is handling each suspected threat with the assurance that schools, unless advised by law enforcement, will operate according to schedule on Friday," she said. "Schools are operating with heightened awareness."

On Friday, Indian River County School Superintendent Fran Adams is asking schools to observe a moment of silence for those slain in Sandy Hook elementary in Connecticut last week.

Friday is the last day of the semester in schools and it also coincides with some students being concerned the world might end because of how some people have interpreted the ancient Mayan Calendar.

Loar's school resources officers have been talking with students and none seem to think anything will really happen. But officers will be at schools to monitor what happens, he said.

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