Southampton schools, sheriff’s office investigating online threat

Published 11:22 am Monday, February 19, 2018

When Southampton County Schools faculty and students return to classes on Tuesday, they’ll see an increased presence of county law enforcement personnel. This is being done in response to an online threat made on Sunday to the county school division. That night, Supt. Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon was alerted that a person or persons going by the account name of paulajameson2222 stated they would kill all blacks at the high school on Tuesday, and that if they didn’t want to be killed, then don’t show up.

Though that account not yet verified, both the school division and Southampton County Sheriff’s Office are taking that threat seriously.

Law enforcement were immediately notified. Shannon then sent out a letter to parents, teachers and school officials alerting them of said threat.

On Monday morning, department spokesman Maj. Gene Drewery issued the following statement to media: “The Southampton County Sheriff’s Office received the information of a threat on social media at approximately 9 p.m. on Sunday, 2/18/2018. Our investigators are working to establish the credibility and source of the threat. Our office is also in contact with the school administration. As information develops you will be updated.”

In her letter, Shannon wrote, “As always the safety of our students and community is paramount. We will remain vigilant in doing all within our power to keep students out of harm’s way. I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you who took the time to personally make me aware of the threat. With the ongoing and growing number of school shootings in the country, we can never take any threat lightly. Thank you for your belief in and continued support of the Southampton County Public School Division. Our belief remains, ‘See Something, Say Something.’”

The superintendent’s updated letter sent out close to noon reaffirmed the division’s frequent collaboration with the Sheriff’s office along with school officials, administrators, etc., which are “taking all possible measures to ensure a safe and secure school environment for the students and staff. This team has conferred and thoroughly reviewed and enacted the school’s safety plan. When school resumes on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, there will be an additional presence of Southampton County law enforcement to proactively ensure the students and staff are safe.”