The good news is that there was not a shooting at the Meridian School at Unicorn Village Wednesday afternoon, but operators said they are “deeply offended” that those rumours got out anyway, due to the “reckless and irresponsible” actions of popular radio talk show host Ortland Bodie Jr.
Meridian’s principal and owner Lisa McCartney rushed into damage control mode after rumours spread like wildfire that there had been a shooting at her school.
It was just after noon Wednesday that the Journal got a phone call that there was an incident at the school.
But within moments it was confirmed that that was not the case.
Mrs. McCartney explained that the only reason the police were called is because the school wanted to report the break-in of a teacher’s car, not a shooting.
“We had a car broken into down the road from the school on the main road and I called the police to say that there had been a car broken into as we do when they come and break into a car,” Mrs. McCartney explained. “The police came, but before they even got here I understand that Ortland Bodie announced on the radio that there had been a shooting at the Meridian School and that the security guard had been shot.
“I’m standing here with my security guard and he’s never been shot. I am very offended at the fact that he could have so recklessly and irresponsibly reported something like that. I don’t know how a car break-in translated into a shooting.
When reporters arrived on the scene, a team of police officers were spotted combing the grassy area where the teachers’ cars were parked and talking to officials there.
Mrs. McCartney, the wife of Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney said once this rumour started to snowball, about 300 parents swarmed the yard, some crying and fearing the worst.
“I apologised to our parents who were absolutely gutted by the thought that there had been a shooting at the school,” she added. “The children were never in danger, the children are still happily unaware that there was even a situation.
“We had a car break-in about 200 feet away from the school yard, how this translated into a shooting is beyond me. I am deeply offended by the comments made on the radio today and that were not substantiated and could have been easily resolved with a simple phone call.”
Mrs. McCartney said the school sent out a mass email to their parents, informing that nothing had happened and happily she said the ruckus did not cause any major disruptions in the school day.
“A few of the parents of our younger children opted to take them home, the ones in preschool,” she said. “I did not have any primary school opt to carry their children home but, of course if they wanted to they could.
“Again I am so sorry about the level of ridiculous rubbish that has happened and we assure you that our children were never in any danger, our staff was never in danger. The security guard accosted the gentleman and there was a scuffle but we never had a problem at school. There was never a situation at the school where any child or staff member was in danger.”
Host of Real Talk Live Ortland Bodie Jr. admitted Wednesday that he erroneously reported the shooting but moments later, after making checks clarified and apologised on his show.