RIVERVIEW — Officials have beefed up security at Spoto High School in response to rumors of retaliation following the recent shooting death of a Durant High School senior.
More than a dozen extra sheriff's deputies and school security guards supervised Spoto on Friday after someone anonymously warned law enforcement of a planned attack, school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.
Parents received an automated telephone message from school officials that day letting them know that while it was safe to send kids to school, a threat had been reported, Cobbe said.
She said the tip turned out to be an unfounded rumor, but one or two extra deputies or security guards will remain in place until the school year ends.
"We can't pin down where (the rumor) started," said Cobbe, who said social networking sites have helped spread them. "It may be one of those 'Have you heard the rumor?' types of things."
An extra security officer also is posted at Giunta Middle School because the rumors have spread to some high schoolers' younger siblings, Cobbe said. Durant High School now has two extra security officers.
On May 22, a graduation party at the Winthrop Barn and Theatre in Riverview turned violent when Spoto High senior Khayri McCray fired into a crowd of people during a fight, deputies say.
Two people were injured, and another, Durant student Devante Lamar Dallas, died. McCray faces second-degree murder charges.
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said so far there has been no truth to rumors of revenge that surfaced after the killing. But deputies are paying close attention.
"I think that in light of what transpired, in light of the fact that three individuals have been shot, we definitely take it seriously," Carter said.
She said it's important that parents talk to their kids about what they're hearing and report any threats of violence to the Sheriff's Office or school officials.
Kim Wilmath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2442.