Pahrump Valley Times
Pahrump Valley High School Principal Max Buffi said he has fielded phone calls all week from parents concerned about their kids’ safety at the school.
Buffi noted that sinister rumors being spread around campus were the impetus for those calls.
The main rumor that parents queried Buffi on was talk of someone bringing a gun on campus today with malevolent intentions.
Parents received a recorded phone message from the school district regarding the rumors on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Buffi said he is doing his best to assuage the concerns of both parents and students.
“I understand where they are coming from because I’m a parent myself. We take it very seriously here. I take it very seriously. I have been chasing down those rumors for two and a half days and responding to calls that parents are making to the school who are concerned about their kids’ safety. I want to assure them the best I can that I’m doing everything I possibly can to ensure that their students are safe at school,” he said.
Buffi noted that the rumor is connected to the Mayan calendar ending today, which some believe spells the end of the world.
That notion along with the recent school shootings in Connecticut spurred the campus-wide hearsay.
“They are young people, they have vivid imaginations, and they like to talk, so we get a lot of rumors. The rumor that is going around now is that there is going to be somebody coming to school on Friday with a gun. We are checking every rumor out and we can’t put any basis to it. We have gotten some names and we’ve checked those kids out. It is almost like a witch-hunt. People are starting to point fingers at other people and now that leads us to get to the bottom of why they have named that person,” he said.
Buffi said although he takes the rumors in earnest, he believes that most of it is simple high school drama among some of the students there but it is not stopping him from looking into the matter.
“Me and my administrators are busy sifting through all of that information and trying to get to the bottom and making sure there is no basis of fact to any of the rumors. We haven’t found any validity to the rumors. I probably met with over 30 kids so far that have volunteered to come up to my office to give me information and I have spent most of my hours here at school tracking down rumors about the kids who were named and who has heard what, but I haven’t been able to put any fact to any of it,” he said.
Another issue Buffi is looking into around the school is word that students, especially seniors, will essentially take the day off today.
Buffi said he is not exactly sure if that information is connected to the gun rumor.
“Usually I don’t hear about stuff like that but I understand that it is supposed to be ‘Senior Sneak Day.’ I would hope that my seniors are more mature than that, but I’m also a realist. I like to think that I kind of understand where the kids are coming from. We actually heard that it is going to be ‘Mormon Ditch Day’ also. I don’t know where that one came from. It is just more rumors that we are checking out. Of course, we don’t have a lot of time to figure those out because we are busy with the other ones, but it is part of the drama of being in high school,” he said.
Asked if he will be among the students skipping school today, Nicholas Whetstine said he wasn’t.
“I heard that some people will be ditching but I’m not going to ditch,” he said.
Senior Denzell Holman, meanwhile, commented on the rumor regarding someone bringing a gun on campus.
“There were some comments made about that happening but I don’t know for sure,” he said.
Holman did not say whether he will attend class today.
Garry Marz, a junior, said he feels very safe on campus and he’s not worried the least bit.
“I’m from Los Angeles, so this is a big change living in Pahrump. This is paradise compared to going to school in LA,” he said with a laugh.