More than 1,000 pupils at a school in Blackpool were absent from the first day of term following fears of a mass shooting. Police were deployed to the the Montgomery High School in Bispham following threats on social media by a user to "kill as a many people as possible".
During a series of posts onto Facebook, including on the school's official page, the alleged plotter threatened an attack in response to bullying. The user, who used a boy's Facebook profile and claimed to be a student at the school, said he would be inspired by Columbine Massacre gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who murdered 12 students and one teacher in the 1999 school shooting.
The school said they had planned to open the school and operate "business as usual" on the day of the proposed attack (Monday 4 January). Lancashire Police said they would be deploying officers in and around the school over the the next few days to provide reassurance to pupils, parents and staff despite, saying there is "nothing to suggest these messages pose a credible threat".
However Montgomery High School confirmed just 360 of its 1,375 pupils attended class following the threats. A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson said: "It has been correctly reported that there has been a significant reduction in student attendance at school today. 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."
In one of the posts which caused the alarm, the user wrote "Nobody talks to me or notices me except when they're calling me a nerd and pushing me around. As soon as I tell people I've got a gun, I start getting bombarded with messages. You're all f****d and you deserve what's coming to you."
In response to a challenge from one student at the school, the user added: "You think it's a joke? You'll see bullets, bodies, and blood."