PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — For the second time in two days, a social media post threatened violence at Pender County schools. This time a teen faces charges.
The Pender County Sheriff’s Office said a 14-year-old Topsail High School student was charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property. The sheriff’s office says the teen was referred to juvenile services.
From the incident yesterday, The Pender County Sheriff’s Office said a 15-year-old student from Heide Trask High School is charged with making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property. This students was the first one to make the Snapchat threat that circulated Tuesday morning, causing hundreds of students to leave school early.
Around 7 a.m. yesterday morning, a parent reached out to deputies about the social media post. The school alerted parents two hours later. The sheriff’s office determined the threat was not credible.
“We would like to ask that parents continue to speak with their children regarding these types of incidents and encourage students to bring information forward when they hear or find out information. Please ask your students to notify a parent, school official or local law enforcement official,” a spokesman with the sheriff’s office said.
Now, the superintendent is speaking out about what they are doing to keep students safe while at school.
Superintendent Dr. Steven Hill said a safety committee was formed last year with representatives from the school system, local law enforcement and emergency management, Pender County Fire Marshall, and Pender EMS and Fire.
The safety committee has completed six safety walk-throughs of school campuses and will complete every school by the end of the school year.
In the coming weeks, Dr. Hill says the safety committee will be launching a campaign detailing the importance of being a proactive citizen and legal responsibilities when sharing information on social media. The campaign “Report, don’t Repost” in collaboration with local law enforcement. This campaign will focus on the community being an equal partner in ensuring the safety of our schools.
Collaborating with our local government, Dr. Hill says they will be requesting funding this year to improve security at our schools, including an SRO based at each school, updated security cameras, and secure door entry systems, among other needed improvements.
Pender County Schools works with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies to provide active shooter training opportunities for school staffs and first responders.
The district said as they were learning of the school shooting in Florida, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office was conducting active shooter training at North Topsail Elementary School.
The school system says they have completed active shooter training with staff at seven schools and will complete this training at all schools by the end of the school year.