'It's upsetting': Frustration mounts over school threats, violence in Wake and Durham Counties

Cindy Bae Image
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Frustration mounts over school threats, violence in Wake, Durham Co.
The Wake County Public School System said the district is currently in the process of implementing security recommendations.

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hour after hour, Josh Cornwell stood by parents across Alston Ridge Middle School on Wednesday in response to another school threat in Wake County.

"It has been constant for the past couple of weeks," Cornwell said.

The middle school was the target of a bomb threat, which Cary Police later found to be false after sweeping the building.

"It's sad, it's upsetting that this is the new normal for this country where daily we're hearing about threats and issues and our kids can't leave the house without feeling safe," Cornwell said.

It was emotionally triggering to Cornwell, especially because May 24 marked one year since the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

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"Thankfully, I can pick my daughters up and hug them when I get home," Cornwell said. "There's families that will never get that opportunity and at this point, as a parent, I don't think we'll ever change."

From lockdowns, to secure statuses, ABC11 was on the ground in Wake and Durham County on Wednesday.

Northern High School was on secure status as officials searched a neighborhood near campus for a weapon.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office said the weapon call had nothing to do with Northern High School and a juvenile is in custody.

Students and staff in both schools were ultimately safe but frustration climbs over the violence.

"It's just frustrating the kids have to go through this more than us," Rahul Rajagopal said. "They have to keep dealing with this over time. Middle school is one thing. The kindergartners, it's going to affect them mentally."

The Wake County Public School System said the district is currently in the process of implementing security recommendations in the following statement:

"Our district takes a proactive approach to security, continually focused on enhancing physical security measures, as well as policies and procedures. We are currently in the process of implementing recommendations from a district-wide security assessment, which will further strengthen district security. While we avoid being reactive, we constantly monitor industry trends to ensure we're employing security best practices throughout our district.

We appreciate the close partnership we have with all area law enforcement agencies and the shared focus on training for school safety and school emergencies. This partnership increases our awareness of potential security threats and improves our joint response should a crisis arise.

Our district believes that the best means to keep schools safe is to maintain healthy, trusting relationships between adults and children, and through building resiliency within the school community to help students cope with challenging situations.

We encourage our parents as well to maintain healthy relationships with their children and to be aware of their children's activities, particularly on social media. If parents own guns, review these resources and consider actions you can take to safe gun storage.

We also encourage our entire community to be alert to threats against our schools. If you see something that may pose a threat, report it by calling law enforcement or the 24-hour anonymous WCPSS Tip Line at (919) 856-1911."