ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WFMY) - Dozens of absences are likely on Wednesday, at both Eastern Alamance High and Woodlawn Middle Schools in Mebane, which share the same campus. Parents are deciding to pull their kids from school, after another day of threats to the high school.
Tuesday marks the third straight school day where schools were locked down, after threatening text messages of mass violence were sent to students. The Alamance County Sheriff's Office, with the help of the State Bureau of Investigation, is investigating who is making the threats.
Kelvin Slade, a 16-year-old Eastern Alamance High School student, was charged with multiple counts of False Report of Mass Violence Against Educational Property. Slade's arrest was announced Wednesday afternoon.
Even though law enforcement says they’re taking these threats seriously, students and parents are still uneasy about the frequency of the threats.
On Tuesday afternoon, freshman Kala Olsen's conversation with her friends wasn't a lighthearted one. While she went to school on Monday, she decided not to go today.
“Monday, I was really scared. I was in the art room, and my teacher rushed us to the closet. There were two different closets, and one was for girls and one was for boys. We just stood there. We were quiet. We were in there for almost an hour,” she said.
Threats continued Tuesday. One text sent to Eastern Alamance students read, in part, “no games this time only death.”
“There was another one saying there were guns on people, and today they had people searching bags,” Olsen said.
“I just feel like nobody is safe anymore,” said freshman Alexis Morris, “I don’t think it’s normal at all that we have to go through this. Because it’s our daily life.”
Eastern High was put on hard lockdown, following another threat. Later in the day, that eased up to a soft lockdown. It marks the fifth time since April 27th someone's threatened mass violence against the school.
“We saw [the text] and over the intercom they that we're going into a hard lockdown,” said freshman Kearsyn Henderson, “We all went and sat in a corner in my classroom. We went into the corner, they turned off all the lights, and shut the windows. We sat there for two hours before they told us what was happening.”
After a notification from the school system, parents lined the street outside Eastern, and neighboring Woodlawn Middle, waiting for a sign that kids were okay.
“It’s sad because when you walk them out the door in the morning, it's that last word that comes to mind,” said parent Angel Corbett, “What did I say to my kid? Did I hug them? Did I tell them I love them?”
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson vowed to protect students.
“We are going to protect our schools with everything we've got!” he said, “We are going to vigorously prosecute anyone that has disrupted the educational process in our county. Whether it is a joke, it does not matter this is serious business we are taking it serious, and we will not stop until somebody is charged in this case.”
“Probability 99 percent that the flurry of social media is a hoax, but in 2018 I can't take a chance on that one percent,” said Alamance-Burlington Superintendent Bill Harrison.
Still, many students don't want to take the risk, and are opting to stay home tomorrow, and likely, the rest of the week.
“I’m not going,” said Morris, “I just don't feel safe.”
Investigators are trying to track down who is texting the threats. They're planning to serve warrants to phone companies, to find out who's behind the anonymous phone numbers.
► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WFMY News 2 App now