HOBBTON, N.C. (WNCN) – Sampson County investigators said two juvenile girls posted a threat against Hobbton High School because they “simply did not want to attend school.”
Late Monday, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said an administrator at Hobbton High School learned around 1 p.m. of a threat posted to Instagram against the school and students.
The administrator went to the school resource officer with the threat.
An investigation revealed, through a search warrant, an IP address associated with the threat, the sheriff’s office said.
Criminal investigators went to the residence connected to the IP address and identified two minors behind the post – ages 12 and 13.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said the two girls created a fake Instagram account to post the threat.
“Both juveniles indicated there was no intentional malice in their posts, but instead they simply did not want to attend school,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.
Both juveniles have been charged with communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property.
The sheriff’s office contacted the Department of Juvenile Justice, asking that the girls be held at a juvenile detention facility.
“Sadly, our request was denied by State officials, forcing investigators under state law to return both juveniles back to their guardian,” the sheriff’s office said.
The charges against the two were filed “regardless of the juveniles’ claimed intent,” the sheriff’s office said.
“I beg of parents to please talk with your children and assure them these actions are very serious and will be treated as such,” Sampson County’s Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said.
Valerie Newton with Sampson County Schools said this is no joking matter, especially following the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Regardless of the intention, she said the consequences could be major.
“Rather it’s a minor threat or a major threat they could be facing consequences of suspension or expulsion,” Newton said.
Newton urges students to keep saying something if they see something alarming.
Sampson County deputies said the threats are no longer credible. However, they remain on alert. Extra law enforcement will remain at schools throughout the county until the end of the week.
“Rest assured, our schools and our children’s safety are our number one priority. All threats will be met with the full force of the law,” Lt. Marcus Smith with Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said.