There is no validity to reports of an active shooter at Hillcrest Middle School in Tuscaloosa County Thursday, despite a whirlwind of rumors on social media.

Both law enforcement sources and spokespeople for the Tuscaloosa County School System have said that although there was a police presence at the school Thursday morning, it was not in response to an active shooter or even a gun present at the school.

A spokesperson for the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to the middle school Thursday out of an abundance of caution to investigate a comment allegedly made last week.

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There was no weapon at the school nor any valid threat, which principal Karen Davis confirmed in an email to parents.

"Recently, we received information about a comment made by a student, regarding the safety of our school. Privacy laws prevent us from discussing specifics of student discipline, but please know that any situation like this is treated seriously, and any student who makes comments regarding the safety of our students and school faces serious consequences under our student code of conduct," she wrote. "We have procedures that we follow in any situation like this, including support from law enforcement, to evaluate any possible safety concern at our school. Please know those procedures have been and are being followed in this situation. Our school resource office is here today and will remain with us to provide support for all on campus."

"We are so thankful when anyone speaks up about a safety concern involving our students or schools," the principal continued. "That is one of the most important ways you can help keep our students and schools safe. If there is more information to share about this situation, I will let our families know immediately."

Unfortunately, after that email was sent, rumors began to spread on social media that were far worse than the real situation at the middle school, and many in the community believed there was an active shooter at the school.

As more false information was disseminated, what began with a quiet, reassuring response from the middle school to parents of children enrolled there ballooned into a message from superintendent Keri Johnson to all parents of students at TCSS schools.

"Please be aware of a rumor circulating on social media this morning," Johnson wrote. "The rumor claims there is an active shooter at Hillcrest Middle School. This is false information and is a rumor being spread through social media."

For more on this if any additional information is released, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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