Protection and punishment during times of school threats


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — “They ask me what to do in a circumstance if someone were to come into school and do something,” said mom, Karen Beveridge. “Where should they run? Should they run? Should they hide? So yeah, it’s something we think about.”

These are the conversations circulating homes, since more and more local schools have received threats.

“It’s terrifying. I have two school aged children,” said Beveridge. “I have a 17 year old and a 15 year old. So, I definitely worry about them.”

How do you talk to your children about what’s been going on?

“This week the conversation has been all the adults in your life are working together to keep you safe,” said Kylene Dibble, executive director for Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County.

While parents are searching for answers, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office is arming the schools with patrol deputies and school resource officers.

“We’re building relationship,” said Lt. Kip Gaskins with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office. “So we’re able to talk to them and they can talk to us. We share information with them and in return, they share information with us. It’s a two way street.”

Adding security is one way to deter the threats from being carried out. Another deterrent is tough punishments.

“This is not a joke,” said district attorney, Scott Thomas. “And we take this seriously in this district.”

Currently prosecutors and judges are limited in terms of how long they can sentence someone found guilty of a false threat. Currently, class ‘H’ felonies carry a maximum sentence of 19 months

If district attorneys like Scott Thomas of Craven County get their ways, state lawmakers would change that.

“The prosecutors and the judges, who know the most about that particular case,” said Thomas. “We should have as much discretion as possible.”

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