Data from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) shows a sharp increase in the number of bomb threats made towards schools.
The number has risen more than 74% since 2012. The highest recorded total of bomb threats came during the 2016-2017 year, when 89 threats were made towards schools.
In February 2018, Grover C. Fields Middle School in New Bern was evacuated following a bomb threat there.
“You have to transport every student safely to their evacuation point. You have to account for every student at your evacuation point,” said Christi Mendes, a guidance counselor with Craven County Schools.
Schools across the East have also recently dealt with a rise in social media threats indicating violence or shootings. Greenville Police have responded to several so far this year.
“Hundreds, and literally thousands of people will be impacted by one social media post,” said Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman. “It’s just not worth it.”
Holtzman said they must respond to every threat as if it is the real thing.
“You know 8 to 10, to 12 or 14 officers are still going to go out, and again that’s because of the size of the school,” he said.
WNCT reached out to the DPI to ask about school threat data, but was told social media threats and threats of violence aren’t tracked. There is no word yet on if that policy will change moving forward.