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Law enforcement officers and Hendersonville High School officials say social media exaggerated a possible threat against the school that drew a police response and had parents asking questions.
Hendersonville Police Capt. Bruce Simonds said there was no lockdown, the school is safe and school administrators have handled a situation that caused a social media uproar.
“That was yesterday afternoon and it was taken care of internally, and school is in session as normal today,” Simonds said. “The school took care of the situation with internal measures. We met with parents and students and he’s not at school today. They put some other means in place going forward. Other than that, there was no specific threat. It looked like it was more in the social media area than anything. I talked to several parents (who said), ‘My daughter’s seen this on Instagram.’ Well, thst’s not true, there’s no lockdown.”
Asked whether he could confirm that a freshman had made a threat relating to an assembly today, Simonds said, “No, I can’t. There’s no proof of that at all.”
Simonds sounded a note of caution about unverified information on the Internet.
“The social media situation has gotten out of hand on this situation,” he said. “It’s like a story that gets told over and over and over and it gets altered every time it’s told and it gets blown out of proportion. The school’s taken care of everything they needed to, we did what we needed to do yesterday. The school is secure, there’s no lockdown and it’s business as usual."
Principal Bobby Wilkins said a rumor with no foundation spread faster than school officials' ability to contain it.
"It was a rumor that some kids started," he said. "Absolutely nothing's going on. We made sure we had extra police here just to make people feel better but nothing's going on. It started in P.E. yesterday morning. We tried to squelch it but we didn't get to it in time."
Sheriff’s Maj. Frank Stout also said there was no imminent threat at the high school.
“There’s been some social media chatter concerning a student or the possibility of a threat and Hendersonville High School and the school resource officer and school administrators have been looking into this,” he said. “We are aware of it.”
Sheriff’s cruisers at HHS this morning “may have been going by there as part of their routine patrol duties but it’s all been handled by the police department,” Stout said. “I really don’t think there’s a threat. The party I think that the allegation has been made against probably is not even on the premise today.” (The student was not at school, Simonds confirmed.)
“HPD has got it well under control,” Stout said. “There’s not been a lockdown or anything like that. I think there’s been a heightened presence yesterday and today because of the rampant chatter on social media.”
The heightened visibility was still evident Wednesday afternoon. A half hour before school let out, three police vehicles and a sheriff's cruisers were parked on Bearcat Boulevard and Oakland Street on the HHS perimeter.