Rumors of a student with a gun began circulating during the masquerade ball at Tooele High School on Friday and THS staff decided to end the dance early, according to Tooele County School District officials.
No gun was found after an investigation. The incident is still being investigated.
The dance was under way in one of the school’s gymnasiums when adult supervisors and a school resource officer began hearing from students that someone at the dance had a gun or was going to bring a gun, but no weapon was seen, according to Marie Denson, Tooele County School District’s communication’s director.
Students at the dance provided names of the individuals who may be in possession of the firearm and those students were taken out of the dance to be interviewed and searched.
“Everyone was very cooperative and nothing was found to substantiate the claims,” Denson said.
Due to the nature of the situation, school staff decided to end the dance early.
“At no point during the masquerade ball did anyone see a gun and there was no evidence of a gun on the school campus,” Denson said.
After the dance ended, law enforcement made additional contact with more students during the weekend but no credible information was found, according to Denson.
However, during the weekend, rumors about what happened or was going to happen at the dance circulated quickly through social media.
“We do have serious concerns over people speculating and perpetuating the rumor over local community social media pages,” Denson said. “This did create unnecessary panic. The principal did try to mitigate this by sending out a letter to all families the next day explaining what had happened.” Denson said.
In his letter, THS principal Aaron Jarnagin urged parents and students to not speculate on what did and didn’t happen on social media.
“We continue to focus on the safety of our students as the investigation continues,” he wrote.
The school encourages students who have safety concerns to report their concerns to school officials or staff, or download the “Safe Ut” app, which is available on both the Android and Apple App Store.
“Although this was a rumor, we still want to encourage students when they have concerns or believe there is a threat to report it,” Denson said. “The students who reported to the student resource officer during the dance did the right thing. We are always grateful for the excellent relationship we have with our Tooele City Police Department and for our student’s willingness to speak up.”