HOAX: Lamar County schools not in danger

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A false article surfaced online over the weekend claiming the Middle Eastern terrorist group ISIS was targeting an attack on a Pine Belt school on September 11.

A bogus news source called beforeitsnews.com published an article claiming that a parent dropping her kids off at a Lamar County school saw "A Middle East looking man videotaping the school from inside a van."

The article also claimed that the woman reported the incident to the police, and warned other parents not to bring their kids to school, the mall or other public areas on September 11 because of the impending attack.

According to Sheriff Danny Rigel, a report never existed, and all leads regarding the subject have been proven false.

"It is something that has gone across social platforms and it mentions in particular Lamar, Lamar County and Hattiesburg, but I have checked with all the local law enforcement agencies, FBI, and nothing has been reported and no arrests have been made," said Rigel. "I think it is just social media gossip. A lot of this has to do with the anniversary of 9/11 coming up and a bunch of rumors start to swirl. It's just people speculating."

Rigel stressed that he and other law enforcement did not take the article lightly.

"If you see something suspicious you need to report it because you can't take anything with a grain of salt in this time and day, it's just the times we are living in," said Rigel.

Rigel insisted that all necessary precautions were taken, and there is no need for concern regarding the false article.

"We can't find one viable source to substantiate what is going around. I do want to stress, because of the time we live in to be vigil. We have talked with everyone we could possible talk with and no one has heard anything about it," said Rigel.

Lamar County Superintendent Tess Smith reassured that the schools are safe for children to attend.

"We are having school as usual. Everyone is aware of 9/11 and we all have heightened awareness," said Smith. "But we will be even more vigilant."

Smith wanted parents to know that the school and community are taking the proper precautions to clear up the rumors.

"We do everything to keep their kids safe, you have to be buzzed into the building and we have a new security system," said Smith. "We are blessed that everyone in Lamar COunty look looks out for each other. As long as people continue to look out for each other, we will do everything to keep their kids safe."

Copyright 2014 WDAM. All rights reserved.