Parents pull kids from Durham schools after social media threat

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham Public Schools confirmed Friday that threats were made against its schools, and many parents scrambled to pick up children early as word of the threat spread.

Security was increased at schools but some parents still withdrew their children early. Friday afternoon, the system announced all athletic activities for Friday were postponed, although it insisted that decision was related to weather, not the threats.

Lisa Turner, the parent of two Jordan High freshmen, was one of those who went to get her children at school.
“I decided to pick them up early and just get them home,” Turner said.

“They were telling me that the teachers were saying it’s no big deal, just go on about what you’re doing, but that everybody else was, the kids, were speculating, they were hearing something and they were hearing that something had happened at another school.”

Stephanie Emons, the mother of three people in the public school system, said, “I was scared.”
“I texted my son right away and I said, ‘I hope everything is OK and that you’re safe there and I’m sure the school will keep the kids safe,’” she said.

Brandon Emons, a student at Jordan, said the students were “sort of on edge.”

“The probability of something actually happening is really low, but everybody’s still on edge,” he said.

The school district confirmed the situation on its Facebook page. It wrote, “Our superintendent Dr. [Bert] L’Homme is sending out a call to everyone to reassure you that we are aware of the threats made against our schools today.”

The system said the threat came through social media. DPS spokesperson Chrissy Deal said the threat was not made to any particular school. Deal said the initial threat is believed to have come through Twitter and then it spread to other social media outlets.

“We have no specific information regarding any actionable threat, but of course we are taking this very seriously,” DPS said on Facebook during the school day. “This time, all of our schools are continuing with their normal instructional day.”
Later Friday afternoon, Durham Public Schools announced on Twitter that all athletic events for Friday night are canceled.

“It is truly because of the rain,” the system tweeted, “but we know the security issues are also on your mind.”

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