Maryland law enforcement and school district officials are investigating why an elementary school teacher made unfounded claims that multiple stabbings occurred at the school before walking 27 fifth-graders off campus to a local café.
Shortly before 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, deputies received a call about multiple stabbings at Green Valley Elementary School in Monrovia, according to a news release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. Monrovia is roughly 40 minutes west of Baltimore.
Instead, deputies quickly found out there had not been any stabbings in the school but that 27 students and a teacher were missing, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities soon found all the students and the teacher at a local cafe, the sheriff’s office added. All of the missing students were accounted for and reunited with their families and guardians, authorities said.
Earlier in the day, the teacher had allegedly attempted to call the front office to get permission to take students outside but did not receive a response and believed the school seemed “eerily quiet,” the sheriff’s office said.
The teacher then decided to lead the students through the woods up to a nearby cafe – a decision which authorities say she made due to her taking a part in emergency management procedures.
“As they are walking through the woods, she has the children remove any brightly colored clothing or accessories and removes her own brightly colored shirt to avoid detection,” the sheriff’s office added.
According to a statement from Frederick County Public Schools, the teacher believed “there was a concern for safety” and acted in what the district called the “avoid strategy,” which staff and students are trained to use when they believe there is an immediate threat to student safety.
There was no credible threat of violence at the school Thursday, the school district stressed.
“We are grateful that this was a non-credible threat, but we know that the experience was upsetting for the students involved and our community at large. We regret that this happened,” the school district added.
When the students and the teacher arrived at the cafe, the teacher had store representatives call 911 and report that there were multiple stabbings at the school and later explained to dispatchers what she thinks happened, authorities said.
The teacher was taken into custody, which does not mean she was criminally arrested or charged, authorities said. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation but was not handcuffed, they added.
The teacher’s name was not publicly released by authorities nor was her current status.
The school district and sheriff’s office are conducting a joint investigation to determine if charges will be forthcoming, the sheriff’s office said.
“As to why the teacher reported multiple stabbings, that is still part of the ongoing investigations,” the sheriff’s office said.
The school district said school officials held a meeting for parents of the impacted students to get more information and services for the children and will also have additional mental health staff at the school over the coming says for children and staff who need support, district officials said.
CNN reached out to the district for further comment.