Garner Police Interim Chief on school threats: 'You're gonna get caught'

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Garner police have identified the person responsible for communicating threats, forcing South Garner High School into lockdown Monday.

Lorie Smith, Garner Police Interim Chief said investigators were able to trace several specific, threatening emails sent to an administrator back to a South Garner High School student, a juvenile.

Charges could include felony communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property, Smith said.

"It's concerning for us in law enforcement but also for me as a parent," said Smith. "It's very concerning when these things happen and I know as a parent too that when you have a student at these schools where this is occurring you want to find out information as quickly as you can."

She added: "It's not worth it. You're gonna get caught."

Monday's Code Red lockdown was the second at a Wake County high school in less than a week.

On Oct. 13, Rolesville High School was placed under a Code Red, locking all exterior and interior doors to restrict movement in and around the building, as police investigated a threat.

In both cases, dozens of parents raced to the schools, worried about their children's safety.

Some parents reported their students hid inside a closet for hours.

"It's both high consequence and super ambiguous which makes for the worst kind of stress of all," said Dr. Mitch Prinstein, American Psychological Assoc. Chief Science Officer.

Prinstein said the event of a lockdown can cause a severe stress response in some students akin to a post traumatic stress response.

"For younger kids, that might be headaches and stomachaches for older kids, that might mean being a bit more jittery, having a hard time sleeping, eating," he said. "Stressful events affect us based completely on how we think about or how we perceive those stressful events. So if in the moment of a lockdown, you might believe there is an imminent threat to your life in that moment then it could be just as impactful, create just as much stress, as if you were experiencing the horrible act itself."

Prinstein suggests that no matter how your child reacted to the event, bring up the topic and normalize talking about it.

"Ask them what was it like for you? What are the ways you've been thinking about it since the lockdown occurred? And let kids guide that and take it wherever they feel comfortable," he said.
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