After shooting threat, Pine Forest students cautiously return to class
by WNCN Staff
Authorities say a 15-year-old Louisiana boy made threats against Pine Forest High School.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -
School buses were unloaded one-by-one Monday at Pine Forest High School and then students were made to pass through metal detectors after several students reported a threat of gun violence at the school over the weekend.
Because of the threat, 60 percent of the students were absent Monday. Of the 1,650 students who attend Pine Forest High, only 663 came to school.
Investigators were made aware of the threat early Saturday when several citizens notified them after seeing the messages on Facebook and Twitter. The threats were originally posted to Edmodo, an educational social networking site that allows teachers and students to connect and communicate with each other.
A person claiming to be a student at the high school said he planned to bring a gun to the school on Monday and shoot several students.
"I am going to shoot up the school, and then kill myself," the purported student wrote.
The post indicated that the threat may stem from bullying.
"You have tormented me in school for long enough," he wrote. "This is over."
Officials tracked the source to a 15-year-old boy in Louisiana, who told officials that it was just a joke on Facebook and Twitter that went too far. The boy's father turned him in to authorities Sunday afternoon.
Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till said passwords assigned to each student weren't secured, allowing the Louisiana teen to create fake accounts and start posting as if he was a member of Pine Forest High School's senior class.
The posts used the real names of several students.
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said the boy has been charged with a misdemeanor but more charges may follow. On Monday, spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said the Louisiana boy appeared to have no connection to Pine Forest High and appeared to have picked the school at random.
Tanna said the situation was "under control and no one is in danger." She said there were more deputies than normal at Pine Forest High Monday.
Till said that even though it is believed the threat was a hoax, the school system is taking it very seriously. Extra deputies were assigned to the school, and the building operated under a code yellow.
A code yellow means the school limits student flow inside the school.
"We'll have a normal day, except we won't let people to move about the building as they normally do," Till explained. "The idea behind that is we will be able to watch everybody who is outside of class."
In addition to the metal detectors as students entered school, at least one teacher was also stationed at each of the school's entrances.
In immediate response to the threat, the school canceled its homecoming dance, which was scheduled over the weekend. Till said he doesn't think the school had a choice other than to cancel the homecoming dance.
Authorities found the Louisiana teen by tracking his IP computer address. They are looking into the possibility that maybe he had visited Fayetteville recently.
In 1986, a 17-year-old student opened fire at Pine Forest High School, injuring three other students.
Harnett County connection
Overhills High School was also threatened in a subsequent online post that made an additional threat to Pine Forest.
As a precaution Harnett County's sheriff also had extra deputies at Overhills High on Monday. Out of 1776 students, 452 (25%) were absent.