Update on Boone Police Investigation into Threats of Violence at Watauga High School

by Shane Robbins

On November 16, 2017, at approximately 3:00 PM, Boone Police received a complaint of threats of violence being made by a student at Watauga High School.  Boone Police and Watauga County School System personnel immediately launched an investigation.  The multi-agency investigative team worked through the night to ascertain the facts about this incident.  Boone Police Officers, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and the North Carolina SBI were on-hand for the start of the school day at Watauga High School.  There were no problems.  The student in question is not in school.

The investigative team has been confronted with an overwhelming amount of rumor and innuendo on social media.  At this time no credible, verified information has been located to substantiate a threat to the students of Watauga High School.

“To this point in the investigation, misinformation is far more prevalent than actual information of a credible threat.  We are more at ease now that the student and family are cooperating with the investigation.  We take any report of threats against our schools extremely seriously.  We are continuing to work diligently to discover the truth concerning these reported threats.” – Andy LeBeau – Captain of Police Operations, Boone Police Department.

We take situations like these extremely seriously, and from the moment we have any indication of even the possibility of a threat, we immediately start work to ensure the safety of our students,” said Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott. “I appreciate the quick response of law enforcement and their thorough investigation. Even though we did not believe there was a threat to the school on Friday, we took steps to ensure extra law enforcement was present in order to be as reassuring to students and parents as possible.”

“I fully expect that we will be back to business as normal on Monday, and we look forward to seeing all our students back in their normal routines. We will continue to provide extra security and support for our students for as long as it is needed.”

Along with the additional law enforcement and security at WHS, Elliott was at the school Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. He greeted students at the door Friday morning and spent time talking with parents in the car line.

“I’ve spent most of the morning visiting classrooms and talking with students. I just want to reassure them that their safety is our first priority and we are going to do whatever it takes to take care of them.”

This is an on-going investigation; no specific information can be released.  Increased security measures are planned until this investigation is resolved.  Boone Police would like to thank our partner agencies, Watauga Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina SBI, Watauga County Schools, North Carolina DPS Probation and Parole, and North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

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