Lancashire

Montgomery High School: Pupils absent after shooting threat

Police outside Montgomery High School Blackpool
Image caption Lancashire Police is investigating the source and content of the online messages

More than 1,000 pupils have not turned up to a school that received online death threats.

Threats to kill pupils in a shooting on Monday at Montgomery High School in Blackpool were posted on social media. The user said they planned to "kill as many people as possible".

The school confirmed 260 of its 1,375 pupils have attended.

Parent Anne Hindle said her 15-year-old son and daughter were "very scared" by the "pretty dark" posts.

Police officers have been patrolling outside the school for "reassurance", a Lancashire Police spokeswoman said, adding that they will remain on site for "the next few days".

'No guarantee'

The planned attack was in revenge for alleged bullying, according to the Facebook post.

The unnamed Facebook user also praised gun killers in schools in the US and posted on the school's page: "Nobody talks to me or notices me except when they're calling me a nerd and pushing me around."

Responding to one student, the user asked: "You think it's a joke? You'll see bullets, bodies, and blood."

Reaction from concerned parents

Anne Hindle, who has a son and a daughter studying for GCSEs at Montgomery High School, decided to keep her children at home.

"They are very scared, to be honest," she said. "They are both aged 15 and in their GCSE year, so it is a big decision to take.

"I have read the posts on Facebook and they are pretty dark. The police say there is no credible threat but we have no guarantee."

David Porter is the father of a first-year pupil and decided not to send his boy to school.

"He's very brainy and is up at 07:30 every day but he is scared and it takes a lot to keep him off," he said.

"We want to be sure whoever posted this message is caught.

"I do not know if we will send him to school on Tuesday."

Image caption Principal Tony Nicholson said all of his staff had turned up

'Non-credible' threat

School principal Tony Nicholson said: "One wonderful thing that just shows the commitment [of the staff] is that I have got 100% attendance - it is a large school [and] every single staff member was here early."

He said parents should be reassured by the police assessment that the threat was "non-credible".

"That's been repeated throughout the whole course of the week. The police are here in a reassuring capacity and in significant numbers."

Mr Nicholson also said he understood the "anxieties and concerns" of students, parents and the school's wider community.

He added: "It has been correctly reported that there has been a significant reduction in student attendance. We do understand why parents have been reluctant to send sons and daughters into school.

"However, we wish to reassure you that Montgomery is a safe school and we look forward to a return to our usual very high levels of student attendance."

Blackpool Council has provided counselling services for any students who have "found the last few days upsetting and stressful".

In a statement, Lancashire Police said there was "nothing to suggest these messages pose a credible threat".

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