Columbine, Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas — those names ring out like the bullets that once flew through their hallways, stark reminders of a perplexing and tragic problem that simply hasn’t gone away.
The latest mass shooting on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has spurred a number of potential threats across Western North Carolina.
School officials and law enforcement officers are investigating several students who’ve made comments about school shootings while others have dealt with social media threats. Not all of the student comments have been found to be a credible or eminent threat, but local law enforcement agencies have made it clear such statements will be taken seriously.
When a teenage shooter shattered an otherwise normal day in Parkland, Florida, with gunfire and bloodshed, the ripples of fear and tragedy didn’t stop at the boundaries of the previously low-profile town. They spread throughout the country, ricocheting through the halls of far-away schools, homes and government buildings filled with folks asking themselves the same question — how can we make sure this doesn’t happen here?
Things are back on track at Tuscola High School after some threatening graffiti found in a boys bathroom last week caused school officials to send students home a few minutes early.
With a long construction process coming to an end, students and teachers at Pisgah High School are enjoying a bit more space in their building, and Haywood County Schools Maintenance Director Tracy Hartgrove is happy to be putting the final touches on a project that’s been in the works for more than two years.
All 11 Macon County schools will now have their own school resource officer, called an SRO, after county commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to institute the eleventh position at Cartoogechaye Elementary School.
Robert Holland has been pushing to place a resource officer in every school for years — long before the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy catapulted cops in schools to the top of county funding debates, and even before assuming the sheriff’s badge in 2002, when he served as a deputy and juvenile detective.
Despite rallying around calls for more school resource officers earlier this year, Swain County commissioners will not chip in after all to pay for the new positions as originally promised — leaving the schools to pick up the full tab themselves or lay off the officers.
Haywood County commissioners drew a line in the sand. The Haywood County School Board decided not to cross it. In a nutshell, that’s what happened.
But what was interesting was the spoken and unspoken back and forth between the two elected bodies about taxes and spending in this era of tight budgets and tax-hike phobia.
The Haywood County Board of Education has concluded that the cost of putting officers in elementary schools is not worth raising property taxes.