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Celebration Spurs Panic at Seneca Valley High School


Members of the junior class at Seneca Valley were celebrating their new status as leaders of the school on Friday, and it led to the police being called to the school for fear of an active shooting incident was taking place at the Germantown school.

According to a letter sent home from Principal Marc Cohen, the rising seniors were in lunch period and celebrating the new status in the school’s upper cafeteria. He said that at some point, a small group of juniors started running through the building “being loud and creating a disruption.” As this group ran past one classroom, Cohen continued, “the students and teacher in that room became concerned that there may have been some kind of threat that caused what they viewed as a stampede. They remembered the training that all students and staff received earlier this year. With the help of the teacher, they locked their classroom door, hid in the closet and called police.”

Montgomery County Police responded, as did Seneca Valley’s School Resource Officer who had heard the call dispatched on the police radio. Police responded to the school and made sure that there was no emergency and no threat. Officers spoke to members of the construction crew working on the new Seneca Valley building being constructed on the campus and were told that at roughly that time workers reported hearing a quick series of loud bangs from the construction crew which may have been heard by students and contributed to the panic.

MCPD spokesman Rick Goodale confirmed to Germantown Pulse at 11:53 am that there was no emergency at Seneca Valley and the police response was out of an abundance of caution.

“Montgomery County Police entered the building, secured the scene, and surveyed the rest of the building to make sure everyone was safe,” wrote Cohen. “It is important to remember that we train our students and staff to say something if they see something. Our students and teacher remembered their training and did what we want them to do; they got themselves away from what they thought was an unsafe situation, and called for help.”

Cohen concluded saying, “Today we saw in action, the powerful impact of a positive collaborative relationship between MCPS and MCPD.”

The only casualty of the event was the lunch period which had to be shortened by 10 mins due to the excitement.

Captions: Members of the Montgomery County Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office who responded to Seneca Valley High School after a shooting was reported at the school at about 11:30 am on Friday, May 31. There was no emergency.

Photos by Germantown Pulse


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