‘This simply cannot continue.’ Wake leaders speak out after week of threats, lockdowns.

Wake County Public Schools

The Wake County school system is asking for the community’s help in stopping a wave of school lockdowns caused by social media threats and guns being brought to campus by students.

Multiple Wake County schools were placed on lockdowns on Friday, where students were required to stay in the building and in some cases in their classroom until the all clear was given. It was the culmination of a series of lockdowns and early dismissals that Superintendent Catty Moore and school board chair Lindsay Mahaffey said Friday “has been a very trying week for students, staff and families at some of our schools.”

“We are calling on our community to partner with us to solve this problem,” Mahaffey and Moore said in their joint message sent to families on Friday. “We will be looking at ways to work with local law enforcement agencies to devise better safety measures and with state lawmakers to see how we can strengthen laws that address perpetrators of these criminal acts.”

The call for help comes after a spate of lockdowns across North Carolina’s largest school district.

Lockdowns ‘disrupt learning’

On Wednesday, Rolesville High School was placed on a Code Red lockdown and students were dismissed early after a student was found with a loaded gun. That same day, Zebulon Middle School was placed on a Code Red lockdown due to a threat posted on social media threat.

In a Code Red lockdown, students are moved into safe areas, and all interior doors are locked.

On Friday, social media threats led to East Millbrook Middle School in Raleigh and Zebulon Middle, again, being placed on a Code Red lockdown. Zebulon Middle dismissed early following a morning where students hid in their classroom for hours as police searched the campus to make sure it was safe.

Also on Friday, several other Wake schools were placed on a “Code Yellow” lockdown, where all outdoor activities stop, and students move into the building. The outer doors are locked and movement is prohibited between buildings but, unlike a Code Red, all other activities continue.

“Many schools in our community were the targets of multiple threats communicated via social media,” Moore and Mahaffey said. “These events, combined with a firearm found in the possession of a student at one school, have created many challenges for us all.”

The school leaders said each lockdown “comes at quite a cost.”

“This week several schools were in lockdown, we had to summon law enforcement numerous times, and two schools were forced to dismiss early,” the school leaders said. “Such incidents disrupt learning, create undue stress for families, burden emergency responders and law enforcement and bring additional costs to our taxpayers.

“If we want to keep our community healthy and thriving, this simply cannot continue. “

Community help needed

Moore and Mahaffey outlined steps it wants people to take:

Remind young people that bringing a weapon to school regardless of intent or making a threat against a school regardless of whether it’s a hoax will result in dire consequences. Not only suspension, but prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

Talk to students about why such acts are criminal, and how committing them has the potential to destroy their lives.

Secure firearms: Always keep guns locked in a gun safe that cannot be easily broken into or taken away.

Report information about situations that cause concern at schools so that Wake can respond quickly and appropriately to protect their safety. Students, parents and citizens can report safety concerns to the district’s anonymous tip line, 919-856-1911.

The school leaders also want everyone in the community to seek ways to support local schools and for lawmakers “to continue to collaborate around bolstering safety in our schools and communities.”

“There are no easy answers,” Mahaffey and Moore wrote. “We know this. But if we work together, we can take on this critical challenge and make positive change. So let’s do this.”