By Clint Parker
North Buncombe/Madison County – The Tribune has received two separate reports of a “heavy military and law enforcement” presence at Madison High School and a heavy law enforcement presence at North Buncombe High School on Thursday (Nov. 8).
One Madison parent provided proof of the report by sending pictures from Madison High School. The military presence turned out to be false and was cleared up (read rest of story). The Tribune has contacted both Director of Communications Stacia Harris at the Buncombe County School and the Madison County Board of Education to try and get answers.
“North Buncombe High School had a couple of extra SROs (school resource officers) on campus as part of a law enforcement investigation into some rumors circulating on social media. A student brought a concerning social media post to administrators’ attention,” said Harris. “Law enforcement began investigating and has determined that no threats were made to North Buncombe students or staff. The comments, posted on social media by someone who is not a student, were not made against any school, but are statements about government and small-town injustice.
“Our students shared the posts with NBHS administration this morning and, per our procedures, we initiated an investigation to separate fact from rumor. We want our parents to know that we continue to maintain safe learning spaces at our schools, and the school day at North Buncombe High continued on as normal. Any further questions should be directed to the sheriff’s department.” (See sidebar story: Arrest made in incident; page 16.)
Madison County School Superintendent Will Hoffman told the paper, “We were made aware of an unspecified threat over social media. It was not against any of our schools specifically and the principal just wanted to call in law enforcement,” said Hoffman. “We also learned that there was a heightened safety concern at North Buncombe and Polk County as a result of this.” Hoffman went on to explain that some of the students recognized the name.
Hoffman also said that a suspect has been apprehended and that there was never a military presence as was reported to the Tribune, but that it was only members of the school’s ROTC staff.
Also, North Buncombe Principal Samantha Sircey said in a message to parents this morning that “We want to make you aware of a situation at our school today. A student brought a concerning social media post to administrators’ attention. Law enforcement is fully involved, and has determined that no threats to our school, students or staff have been made.”
These events come on the heels of a lockdown last week at Asheville High School.