School counselor, tied to 'die-in' threat, on leave

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Central Bucks High School West, Central Bucks School District, Bucks County

The school counselor whose social-media accounts carried a threatening message addressed to "die-in" protesters outside Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation continues, the school district said.

MaryKate Blankenburg, a guidance counselor at the Central Bucks School District, will be paid during the leave, said Melanie Sullivan, Central Bucks School District community relations coordinator.

The post, appearing on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of MaryKate Blankenburg, addressed those who planned to protest after the Seattle Seahawks-Philadelphia Eagles game.

"If my child cannot get to the Eagles game due to protesters, I will personally SHOOT every one of them. You've been warned idiots!!" read the post.

Officials have not said whether they have ascertained that Blankenburg was the author of the message attributed to the accounts. Efforts to reach Blankenburg have been unsuccessful. She was quoted in the Bucks County Courier Times as saying, "my child might have gotten hold of my iPad."

Demonstrators staged a peaceful "die-in" after the Eagles game Sunday night to protest killings by police, such as those of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y.

Central Bucks Superintendent David Weitzel became aware of the post Sunday and said in a statement Monday that the school district was "responding with urgency and concern" to investigate it.

The district contacted the Bucks County District Attorney's Office, but upon learning that Blankenburg lives in Montgomery County, District Attorney David Heckler referred the case there, he said.

Weitzel said the school district would "take appropriate action" after learning the facts.


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