Students stay home fearing Leap Year violence : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- More than half of the 1,400 students at Las Plumas High School didn't attend classes Tuesday after hearing rumors of a mass suicide and violence planned in connection with the Leap Year, school officials said.

The 600 students who did attend classes were met with metal detectors and "lockdown" conditions at the campus, said Principal Sandy Dovell.

The rumors also led several area elementary schools to go into lockdowns and tightened security at Oroville High School.

Superintendent Barry Kayrell said the schools took the measures as a precautionary reaction to a potential threat, but he did not anticipate anything happening and sent his own son to school.

The rumors caused Dovell to contact area police and to assemble a crisis team, and it was decided to do a "semi-lockdown" Tuesday.

As school opened Tuesday at Las Plumas, students could enter through only two doors, the principal said. Each student was searched with metal detectors. No weapons were found and the students were cooperative because they "knew it was for their safety," she said.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 01, 2000

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