4 N.C. Middle Schoolers Face Charges for Alleged ‘Columbine-style’ Plot

After students reported the threats to the school, law enforcement found messages on Instagram discussing the plan.

4 N.C. Middle Schoolers Face Charges for Alleged ‘Columbine-style’ Plot

Police found messages between the students on Instagram discussing their plan to bring guns to the school and hurt people. Image: iStock.com/stockcam

Four middle school students, between the ages of 12-13, face charges after allegedly discussing a “Columbine-style” attack on social media.

According to Scotland County School System Superintendent Ron Hargrave, the students began posting threats against Carver Middle School on Instagram, reports WALB News 10.

Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jessica Sadonvikov says the students were messaging each other about bringing guns to the Laurel Hill, N.C., school and shooting specific students and a teacher.

She says the male students specifically talked about Columbine when discussing their own planned attack, reports The Hill.

“We know it was a plan. What we are trying to find out is what was their capability?” Sadovnikov said. “There is reasonable suspicion the mastermind had access to weapons, but we haven’t confirmed that yet.”

Hargrave says two students reported the threats and the school alerted the sheriff’s office. They believed the students were planning the shooting for Jan. 25.

“Because of that, because students were brave enough to come forward, our campus is safe,” he said.

Parents at Carver Middle School are unsure why they weren’t made aware of the threats immediately. Many were upset that they found out about the incident from the media rather than the school.

“I feel that we truly have a lack of communication between our sheriff’s office and school system,” said one mother.

Hargrave explained that the sheriff’s office decided there shouldn’t be an announcement right away because they didn’t want students erasing important information from the Internet.

“And we removed the threat as immediately as anybody possibly could,” said Sheronica Smith, an SRO at Carver Middle.

The sheriff’s department, however, released a statement saying that it “at no time instructed any staff or member of the school board or school to refrain from informing parents or family.”

The suspected students have been removed from the school and are now facing felony charges of communicating a threat of mass violence on school property.

About the Author

Katie Malafronte
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Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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