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Fake Tweet causes school closing confusion in Millard

Posted at 6:39 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 19:39:47-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After our first measurable snow in Omaha, there was a bit of confusion in at least one district Monday morning surrounding a school closing post on social media.

Someone created a fake Twitter account for Millard Superintendent Jim Sutfin and sent out this message:

"The conditions aren't looking great, and the road looks slick. Might be dangerous to drive. Today will be a E-Learning day."

If you read the account closely you will see Dr. Sutfin’s name is misspelled.

A number of people shared the false tweet and a local media outlet briefly posted the E-learning day on its website.

“As we all know, social media is the wild-wild west,” Geoffrey Roth, 3 News Now News Director, said. “And it’s kind of easy to fake stuff, as we saw today it happened.”

At KMTV, school closing information is collected securely and reported only if the proper channels have been followed.

“The system allows school districts to dial in on their own with a specific login and password and put in the information themselves,” Roth said.

If we get a phone call about a closing, the district also has a passcode to give us. If they don't have the passcode, we won't add it to the closing list.

You can find a list of current closing here and sign up for our closing alert email.

Omaha Public Schools said they notify families and staff of school closings via phone, email and text, as well as local media outlets and will post on the district's official website.

Millard Public Schools declined an interview today. Instead sent us this statement:

"When weather changes the school day, Millard reaches out directly to families with a phone call, text and email. Additionally, we post the information in a banner at the top of our district website and reach out to local media. We also share the information on our district social media channels."

The district reiterated Monday morning's Tweet was not from the district. Even the spoofed account eventually changed its story to a “go day.”