The Seymour school superintendent issued a statement Friday blaming social media for prolonging a police investigation at the high school Thursday.
“This is an example of the negative impact the social media rumor mill can have on society. In this case, the communication and evolution of fake news negatively impacted the educational process in our school,” Superintendent Michael Wilson said.
The superintendent’s full statement is at the bottom of this post.
Apparently a student had been disciplined for a routine school policy infraction Thursday but was angry because he thought other students had snitched on him.
Ultimately — and the specifics of the probe are tough to know because of the student’s age — the teen was arrested on an unspecified drug charge and breach of peace, according to a social media post from the Seymour Police Department.
His name was not released and the case is being handled in juvenile court, which is closed to the public.
Thursday night social media “exploded with allegations,” Wilson posted.
Among the rumors — a student was planning to attack the school.
That prompted Seymour police to keep investigating, according to the superintendent, but the rumors were just that — rumors.
“During today’s investigation, the allegations which were stated on social media last evening were determined to be false,” he wrote.
The social media rumors occurred a day after a horrific mass shooting at a high school in Florida.
Wilson’s use of the term “fake news“ to describe a rumor run wild is questionable.
The ever-changing term is often politically charged when used by partisans to undermine legitimate news stories with which they disagree.
The superintendent seems to be applying the term to a private Facebook group, not a traditional news outlet.
Wilson’s full statement is published below:
Good Afternoon Seymour Public Schools,
In a joint effort with Seymour’s administrative team, we would like to provide an update on the recent issue of which we notified you last evening:
Late Wednesday an incident occurred at the end of the school day in Seymour High School involving student discipline, resulting in a thorough investigation conducted by school administration and the school resource officer. During this investigation it was determined that a threat did not exist. That evening, after the investigation, social media exploded with allegations which were not uncovered during the original investigation.
Today, the investigation resumed to determine if the new information which was presented on social media was true. During today’s investigation, the allegations which were stated on social media last evening were determined to be false.
The false allegations were tracked back to the source of misinformation, the social media allegations from last evening were unfounded. The students in Seymour High School were never at risk. This is an example of the negative impact the social media rumor mill can have on society.
In this case, the communication and evolution of fake news negatively impacted the educational process in our school.
As we stated yesterday, we are committed to ensuring the safety of all Seymour Students.