More than 1,000 pupils were absent from their Blackpool secondary today, after an anonymous social media user threatened to go on a shooting spree at the school.
Posting on the Montgomery High School’s Facebook page, the user, who said they attended the school, threatened to “kill as many people as possible”, during a shooting today.
As a result, only about 268 of the school’s 1,381 pupils (20 per cent) turned up for the start of term.
A statement on the school’s website says that it aimed to begin the term with “safe business as usual”. It adds: “Montgomery staff will be supportive, diligent and…highly visible from the outset of the working day.”
School leaders have been liaising closely with the police, and there has been a high police presence at the school since early morning. The local authority has also offered counselling services for any pupils upset or stressed by the events.
In a post on the Montgomery High Facebook page, the anonymous user praises school shootings in the US. They go on to say that the attack would be in revenge for alleged bullying: “Nobody talks to me or notices me except when they’re calling me a nerd and pushing me around.”
Responding to a comment from a student, the user adds: “You think it’s a joke? You’ll see bullets, bodies and blood.”
John Topping, of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust, which oversees Montgomery High, said that the school’s normal attendance rate was 95 per cent. “We’re hoping there’s going to be a significant increase in attendance tomorrow,” he said. “But, being realistic, it’s probably going to take a few more days to get back to normal.”