SILER CITY — On May 14, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a threatening message circulating on social media, targeting Chatham Middle School in Siler City with a potential act of violence.
An immediate investigation was launched by authorities to address the potential threat, which the social media post said would be carried out against students and teachers on May 15.
With the assistance of Student Resource Officers, school administration, teachers and federal agencies, investigators successfully traced the origin of the threat. Investigators believe after interviewing the juveniles charged that the threat was a prank the juveniles never actually intended to carry out.
One juvenile was charged with threat of mass violence on educational property, while four other underage individuals were charged with conspiring to carry out an act of mass violence on educational property.
Three of the juveniles charged are students at Chatham Middle School.
“I cannot stress enough the seriousness of making threats of a school shooting,” Sheriff Mike Roberson said. “Public safety is our utmost priority, and any act — even if it’s a prank — that undermines that security is a serious matter. Not only does it create fear and panic among students, parents and teachers, but it is a criminal offense that carries severe consequences. Maintaining a secure learning environment is a collective effort that requires collaboration with everyone involved. By working hand in hand with educators, parents and students, we can foster a safe environment where our children can thrive and grow. Our partnership is built on trust, communication, and a shared dedication to the welfare of our students.”
“Chatham County Schools continues to work with the Sheriff’s Office and other agencies to support them throughout this process,” the school system said in a statement. “The district and school administration agree school safety is one of our main concerns, and we promote any and all efforts to help keep our students and staff safe while on campus. It is also critically important that all CCS stakeholders continue to exercise good judgment regarding the use of social media.”
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