TAKING ACTION: Morgan County Superintendent says social media spreads rumors faster

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - Unfortunately, there are many crimes committed using the internet.

But sometimes, it's simply the spread of speculation and rumors that creates panic. We see that more and more now with social media.

Brewer High School Principal Dr. Jeremy Childers said "It causes a chain reaction when they send those things because after it gets sent one time, you can't pull it back."

Morgan County Superintendent Bill Hopkins said they work hard to combat any kind of threats to their schools. What causes problems is when students take to social media and start spreading the news there, because then it begins to snowball and takes on a life of its own.

The threats to Brewer High School didn't turn out to be credible, but the panic created on social media Wednesday caused more harm than anything.

"From what originally happened yesterday it grew into a very large thing that was completely untrue and panicked a lot of people, a lot of parents about the safety of their children," said Principal Childers.

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said they don't know who is behind the threats yet, but her first concern is the safety of the students.

"That's our first and foremost priority, and then we'll work on the backside of trying to find out if this was intended to be a threat, if it was just some kind of harmless prank."

Superintendent Hopkins said he wants to warn parents and students against contributing to spreading rumors. He said don't take what you see on social media at face value.

"It just continues to grow and grow and grow and sometimes the truth gets stretched and by the time the proper authorities get the information it is so out of control," he said.

Sheriff Franklin said she wants parents to know they take any threat to the schools seriously. They increased police presence at the school Thursday in an effort with administration to make students feel safer.

"It's a good feeling knowing we have the communication and can work together and can try to make today go as smoothly as possible," she said.

The investigation into the threats is ongoing. Sheriff Franklin said the one good about social media is that it does give them some leads into who is behind the threats, though it gives them so many people to look at it might take them awhile to get through them all.