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franklin county times

Number of absent students more than doubles

By By Kelly Quackenbush/The Meridian Star
March 10, 2001
Students who stayed home Friday from West Lauderdale School will be able to make up missed exams after spring break.
Amid rumors of violence, which had circulated since the beginning of the week, many students stayed away from the school grounds, even though county school superintendent David Little told the school board there were no incidents.
West Lauderdale principal Mike Etheridge said he sees about 40 absences in a normal school day, but more than 100 students missed classses Friday. He attributed the increase to exemption from exams or parents concerned about the threat of violence.
Etheridge said students who missed school will not be punished, but will be charged with an absence.
Several parents called the school and local authorities to see what was happening to make sure it was safe to send their children to school Friday.
The rumors began circulating at the beginning of the week. Etheridge said the school talked to all of the students who were identified in the rumors and every precaution was taken. School officials searched many bookbags Friday morning for weapons and found no weapons of any kind.
Etheridge said it was a very frustrating experience to fight a rumor but he was glad the rumors did not turn into any thing other than rumors.
Kelly Quackenbush is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at kquackenbush@themeridianstar.com.