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AC at Wilkes Central

Thursday a number of school systems across the state received similar calls to 911 that turned out to be hoaxes. Many school systems including Wilkes County reported calls claiming an active shooter on their campuses; there were no such incidents.

In a brief statement from the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday around noon, authorities said that no one had been shot and there was not a current threat at Wilkes Central High School. Reports began circulating on social media earlier in the day of an active shooter on the campus.

Just after 12 p.m., the following statement was posted to the Wilkes Central High School website:

“Eagle Families,

This morning, December 1, Wilkes County Emergency Dispatch received a call stating that there was an active shooter situation on Wilkes Central High School’s campus. Our school immediately went into lockdown and followed safety procedures. Local law enforcement agencies responded immediately, and after lockdown, they have confirmed that the school was clear and that there was NO threat of an active shooter situation as was reported to emergency dispatch. We have been advised to continue on with our normal school day as planned, as there has been no confirmed threat to our students, faculty, or visitors to our campus. We have an increased presence of law enforcement officers out of precaution for the remainder of the school day. Thank you for your support and understanding as we made sure that all of our Eagle family was safe and cared for.”

Wilkes Central High was just one of other such examples that happened Thursday. Williams High School in Burlington, Hillside High in Durham, Grimsley High in Greensboro, Leesville Road Middle School in Raleigh, New Hanover High School in Wilmington, Cumberland County Schools, and four schools in the Charlotte area were reported to have been on the receiving end of “swatting” calls.

At least nine schools in Georgia were targets Wednesday as well.

These calls are intended as a prank when the callers to 911 make claims that draw large numbers of law enforcement and first responders to one address.

There were no such reports from Surry County, Mount Airy City, or Elkin City Schools.

In a response to the matter, the field office of the FBI in Charlotte released the following statement, “FBI Charlotte is aware of numerous threats to area schools and are in touch with the local law enforcement agencies involved. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”

Swatting calls are considered a crime and in North Carolina are punishable under criminal statutes 14-111.4 (Misuse of 911 system) or 14-225 (False reports to law enforcement agencies or officers). Both are misdemeanor offenses.



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