A West Iredell High School student may face charges concerning a threat made to a school last week. The Iredell County Sheriff's Office has petitioned the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s wing of Juvenile Justice to charge the teen with communicating a false report of mass violence on educational property.
Sheriff Darren Campbell said deputies were told of a possible threat of a shooting happening at the school Monday.
The information was obtained while another incident was being investigated in the area of the Iredell and Alexander county border, Campbell said. He said deputies were informed by a parent about a student having made the threat of a school shooting Monday when the Iredell-Statesville Schools students returned to class.
Campbell stated an investigation began immediately to examine the possible threat by contacting school officials and the school resource officer. They also spoke to the teen and the parent.
An appointment was scheduled for the student and parent to meet with school officials and detectives, Campbell said. Threat Assessment Detective Jacob Dyson and SROs interviewed multiple students who were aware of the threat.
During the investigation, it was found the teen had been talking about the threat the prior week. ICSO Maj. Andy Poteat said the student had been interviewed and the threat appeared to have been made between Thursday and Friday.
Campbell added the student also told others not to come to school Monday.
The sheriff’s office then petitioned the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s wing of Juvenile Justice to charge the teen with communicating a false report concerning mass violence on school property. The charge is considered a felony in North Carolina.
All evidence gathered has been submitted to the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and the District Attorney’s office.
Juvenile services will ultimately make the decision on whether to press charges, Poteat said.
Campbell added the youth has a history of similar incidents in the I-SS system.
“It is always beneficial in these types of investigations when we are able to work closely with school administrators such as we did in this case with (West Iredell principal) Mrs. Ellyn Gaither and her staff at West Iredell High School,” Campbell said in a news release. “We take a zero tolerance when it comes to violence or threatened acts of violence on our school system. We will not accept this kind of behavior, and will do all we can to protect our students, parents and school staff members.”
Iredell-Statesville Schools spokesperson Boen Nutting said there was no heightened security at West Iredell Tuesday and the school day proceeded regularly.
She did note the student was not present at school Tuesday.