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School officials hoping for a normal day

May 07, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Monday is expected to be a normal school day in Washington County despite statewide rumors of violence which had prompted the state schools superintendent to postpone standardized tests, Washington County school system spokeswoman Donna Messina said Friday.

Similar rumors caused widespread student absences in Washington County on Monday. On that day, 28 of 47 schools in the county reported absentee rates of more than 10 percent. Almost half of the students at North Hagerstown High School were not at school.

But since then, the absentee rate has returned to normal, Messina said.

On Tuesday, only North High reported an absentee rate above 10 percent. Since then no school in the county has reported a high absentee rate, she said.

"We're expecting Monday to be a normal school day. Our concern was May 3 and that has come and gone," Messina said.

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On Thursday, State Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick postponed the beginning of a week of Maryland School Performance Assessment Program testing for third- and eighth-graders.

Because of rumors that violence may occur on Monday, Grasmick decided that delaying the testing would make that day less stressful for students and teachers, according to a statement from the Maryland Department of Education.

The tests will now be given from Tuesday through Monday, May 17.

School administrators around the country have been dealing with an increasing number of rumors and threats of violence since April 20 when two teens went on a murderous rampage in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide.

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