JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Just days into the new school year, students of White Oak High School were struck by gunfire, a situation that parents say could have been prevented. 

On the first day of school, parents of a White Oak student said that they informed the school of threatening messages coming from another student directed at their daughter.  

“This incident began at their schools. They were made aware of the threats,” said one parent, Julia Benefield. 

The next day, the daughter and her friends went to a pizza restaurant after school, directly across the street. There, the student who was making the threats arrived with others and opened fire on them. 

“I can hear in her voice that she was crying and it was serious. She said she just got shot,” said another parent, Shaun Frank.

The principal informed parents of White Oak with a message that an incident had occurred near the school but not on campus.

“It is law that you can’t fire a firearm within 1,000 feet of school,” said Frank.

“There were still kids running cross country on the street, there were kids practicing band, there were kids inside and outdoors still continuing on,” added Benefield. 

On September 3, White Oak High School posted on its homepage that due to “incidences last week,” they will be implementing a clear or mesh bag policy. 

“Why weren’t we doing this before?” said Frank.

Now, these parents are asking for more changes within Onslow County Schools.

“Nobody did anything to mitigate this, especially with all the crime and spikes in violent crimes in the high schools in the last three to four years in Onslow County. Where’s the accountability? Who is going to tell my daughter sorry and help her recover?” he added. 

Changes within the state on the Raise the Age initiative took effect in 2019 that no longer allow anyone under the age of 18 to be automatically charged as an adult. 

“They wanted to take an adult action, but can’t be tried as an adult,” said Frank.

“That is a huge concern for us. I think that because these are felonies they should be taken into consideration and automatically transferred to adult court,” added Benefield.

Both Frank and Benefield plan on attending the Onslow County Schools Board of Education meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to address their concerns.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said that this is still an active investigation.