Education

Threat to Johnston County high school kept some students away Thursday

Students console each other outside Pines Trail Center where a candlelight vigil will be held, Thursday in Parkland, Fla. Nikolas Cruz is accused of opening fire Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing more than a dozen people and injuring several.
Students console each other outside Pines Trail Center where a candlelight vigil will be held, Thursday in Parkland, Fla. Nikolas Cruz is accused of opening fire Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing more than a dozen people and injuring several. AP

Amid heightened fears following the Florida mass school shooting, some Cornith Holders High School students stayed home Thursday after a threat was made against the school.

Rumors circulated around Corinth Holders on Wednesday that a threat had been made. But a glitch resulted in parents not receiving Wednesday night a message from the principal telling them that the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office determined the threat was not viable, according to Crystal Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Johnston school system.

After learning the message didn’t get through, a second automated message was sent Thursday morning. The call came as parents and students were still grappling with how at least 17 people were killed and 15 more injured by a shooter Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“We understand that people feel so vulnerable at a time like this and it’s our duty to communicate with our stakeholders what we’re doing,” Roberts said. “We apologize for that glitch.”

A news analysis by McClatchy found at least 12 threats have been made against schools across the nation, including Corinth Holders, since Wednesday.

Roberts said she did not immediately know how many of the 2,000 Corinth Holders students stayed home Thursday. But Cheryl Stephens said she knew a number of parents, including herself, who kept their children away from the school.

Stephens said the most recent threat had been made by a student who previously had threatened the school. Stephens said the student should not be allowed back on campus.

“Are we just going to sit around and wait for something to happen?” Stephens said. “Students and teachers are being killed by people who said they’re going to shoot people and nobody was listening.”

Roberts said she couldn’t discuss who had made the threat because of student privacy laws.

Roberts said Johnston County Superintendent Ross Renfrow will send a message to the district’s parents on Thursday reassuring them that measures are in place to keep students safe.

The Wake County school system is also planning to send a letter Thursday to reassure parents.

T. Keung Hui: 919-829-4534, @nckhui

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