JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Onslow County Schools held a special board meeting Wednesday. One of the topics on the agenda was school safety.
The board held its annual briefing by the safety and security director, following the recent uptick of social media threats they’ve been seeing. The school board says the best thing parents can do is sit down with their children and make sure they understand the consequences of making or spreading a threat.
“It’s an issue that we believe that we need to address, we continually address it. But we’ve had a high number of incidents this year,” said Chairman of the Onslow County Board of Education, Bob Williams.
Over the past few weeks, Onslow County Schools, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, and the Jacksonville Department of Public Safety have responded to several threats to schools in the community.
“We don’t want our kids to get involved in that. We want them to be successful. And that’s one of the things that we’re hoping to do is make them successful by limiting the number of those things going on,” said Williams.
The board says students who use threatening language at school or share threats online can face serious consequences. When threats are shared over social media, they say information can often get misinterpreted.
Like in October when there was panic over a potential school shooting at Jacksonville High School, which ended up being a high school in Florida.
“We don’t want to create chaos when there’s no need for chaos. Threats get commercialized so much through social media these days, that we want to verify that we actually have a threat before we send the Calvary,” said Director of Safety and Security, Dusty Rhodes.
They added they have a system in place when it comes to notifying the parents of potential situations, which involves verifying if there is a valid threat, notifying law enforcement, and then notifying parents.
“It’s gonna be a balance of keeping parents happy. But letting them know that safety is not about convenience. Safety is our number one priority,” said Rhodes.