Wake County Schools

Fla. teen's tweet prompts lockdown at Wake Forest's Heritage High School

Posted February 4, 2015

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— A threat posted on social media prompted a 90-minute lockdown at Heritage High School on Wednesday morning before authorities determined students were not in danger.

Wake Forest police spokesman Bill Crabtree said school officials contacted investigators about 8:30 a.m. after learning about the threat, which was posted on Twitter at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday. The user stated, "I'm shooting up Heritage."

Crabtree said officers traced the tweet to a 14-year-old boy in Pinellas County, Fla. They talked to the boy's mother and determined there was no threat to the school.

Police said they do not know whether the boy has any affiliation with Heritage High School, but he sent the tweet directly to the Wake County Public School System.

"At this time, since the tweet originated from Pinellas County, Florida, the authorities in Pinellas County will be assuming responsibility for the investigation," Crabtree said.

A spokeswoman with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said no charges were filed.

The school, at 1150 Forestville Road, was locked down at about 9:30 a.m. Heritage Elementary School and Heritage Middle School, which are nearby, were also locked down as a precaution, and officials asked parents not to pick up their children.

Wake County school officials initially classified the lockdown as "code red," which means there is a direct threat to the school or in the immediate area of the school. In a code red lockdown, buildings are secured and no one is allowed to enter or exit.

"We had to turn off the lights, and everyone had to get in the corner," Heritage High student Ryan Wetzel said.

Senior Nick Fisher said most people remained calm.

"I mean, a couple of people were kind of freaking out, but there's no reason to," he said.

The lockdown was lifted about 11 a.m.

"These steps are taken as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our students and faculty," Lisa Luten, a spokeswoman for the Wake County Public School System, said in a news release. "Once the police gave the school the all clear, the lockdown ended without any incident."

Luten said an employee who reviews all social media messages posted overnight found the tweet about 8:15 a.m. The user deleted the tweet shortly after the lockdown began.

Crabtree said Wake Forest police worked with the Wake County Sheriff's Office and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to bring a quick resolution to the case.

"We greatly appreciate the relationship we have with law enforcement and WCPSS Security in responding to such situations," Luten said. "They work closely with us to ensure the safety of our students every day."

Luten also said she did not know whether the teen is connected to the school. But Fisher said the boy attended Heritage Middle School last year.


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  • tbagasaurusrex Feb 5, 2015

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    I'm going to give you the bottom line because I'm tired of listening to your repetitive and contradictory (see below) argument. Don't waste your time responding because I won't bother to read it.

    1. I've already established your claim that "EVERY" school shooting was done w/o warning as false (Jaylen Fryberg). He made comments a week in advance via Twitter and text msg that he was going to hurt people, even sending pictures of himself with a gun. But, please, continue to ignore this fact.

    2. Two comments you've made:

    " I'm not calling for turning schools into secure facilities..."

    And in almost the same breath...

    "What might have been reasonable to start with is always having doors locked and/or use of metal detectors to prevent guns from entering the school in the first place."


    Two completely contradictory statements that only prove you have absolutely no clue what your stance is.

  • Alexia Proper Feb 5, 2015
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    I'm not out of touch. If you want security, then you implement it. Nothing half-way will work.

    Why lock the doors if you hear a dangerous prisoner is out running around? I'd ask why they're not locked to prevent unauthorized people from entering every day.

    Here's the reality: in EVERY single instance where somebody was shot at school, there were no warnings and no attempt made to secure the facility.

    And you keep thinking that locking the doors if somebody yells "boo" will resolve issues. I'm not saying to ignore relevant real and present dangers, but a Twitter posting is no evidence of such. It's just being paranoid. People should always be looking for suspicious activity and persons. It is a failure to do that that leads to every single instance ever reported of school violence.

  • tbagasaurusrex Feb 5, 2015

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    You know what else is laughable? Your assertion that a metal detector would stop someone intent on shooting up the school. "Hey Mr. Badguy. Please leave your weapons at the door!".

    "I'm only saying that that [sic] locking the doors after hearing of a potential threat is pointless..."

    Following this logic, it would be "pointless" to lock your doors after hearing someone escaped from a prison nearby and was wandering the area. After all, once the threat has been announced, it's too late anyway, right?

    It's incredible how out of touch with reality you are...

  • Alexia Proper Feb 5, 2015
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    Which one solves potential security threats? If you want to have a secure environment, then use of metal detectors is required.

    I'm only saying that that locking the doors after hearing of a potential threat is pointless for the reasons I stated. I'm not calling for turning schools into secure facilities. However, the fact is that there is no middle ground on providing security. You either have it or you don't. And locking doors after hearing a rumor and yelling out "code red" is laughable security.

  • tbagasaurusrex Feb 5, 2015

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    LOL. Locking school doors in response to shooting threat= overboard and paranoid. Putting metal detectors in schools and locking doors all the time= not overboard and paranoid. Got it...

  • Alexia Proper Feb 5, 2015
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    Because this is a non-workable plan. Get back to me the day that locking those doors actually do save a life.

    People are overly paranoid. Locking the school doors because of a tweet posted on Twitter is absolutely overboard. What might have been reasonable to start with is always having doors locked and/or use of metal detectors to prevent guns from entering the school in the first place.

    You see, if you're really concerned with security, you'd actually take steps that will prevent a loss of life every single day. Thus far, schools with these current "lock the door if somebody yells boo" policies do not do anything whatsoever, except put fear into people. I said before and I'll repeat it: somebody who really intends on "shooting up" a school will not announce it beforehand and, even if they did, they'd carry out the deed long before it would be seen.

    The "boo" policy doesn't work.

  • tbagasaurusrex Feb 5, 2015

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    I think this horse has about had it. I guess your definition of "hysteria" and panic" are vastly different from everyone elses (including any dictionary definition, ever). Taking a slight, precautionary measure of locking the doors inside and outside the school while a shooting threat is investigated is hardly a hysterical act. It's not like they called in the SWAT team and swept every room in the building. Nope, just locked the school doors so no one could enter. "Overboard"? Hardly. Pretty standard policy for probably 99.99% of school districts across the country. But you know what? You're right. All those school districts are just paranoid for having a plan in place to protect themselves against a threat (no matter how big or small).

  • Alexia Proper Feb 5, 2015
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    This kid was apparently already at school and with a weapon. Too late. Damage done.

    You're not getting it. Schools are not going to be alerted to serious threats. Nonethelss, they hear a threat and panic. It's pointless. Not once has that panic mode, that fester of hysteria and psychosis, actually saved one single life. Never.

    I'm not saying to have no measures in place. I'm just saying the security model is utterly broken. The evidence is right there in that link you provided. It's evident in the school shooting in Virginia yesterday (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-fr-frederick-high-shooting-20150204-story.html).

    Panic if it makes you feel better. It's not helping anything, though.

  • tbagasaurusrex Feb 5, 2015

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    No, we're not in agreement (see Jaylen Fryberg; http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/marysville-school-shooting/bang-bang-im-dead-marysville-shooter-jaylen-frybergs-ominous-texts-n252496).

    Schools are locked down all the time (bomb threats, bank robberies/home invasions in the area, etc). To call such a precautionary measure "overboard" is asinine. Again, I'm sure you'd be the same one on these boards condemning the school for not taking action had something actually happened (especially if this was your child's school). If you weren't, I'd seriously question your competency as a parent.

  • Alexia Proper Feb 5, 2015
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    I think we're in agreement on one point: people planning to "shoot up" a school do not say that on Twitter. It has never happened.

    You are right that there might be a bad guy heading across the parking lot at 8:31. My point is that that could happen today, too. What is your school doing about that?

    I'm not the one who is delusional. I'm saying all of those who get scared like mice when there is a stated threat are. Keep your head on your shoulders and remain grounded in reality. If you are sitting comfortable today, congratulations. You're oblivious to the fact that real threats are always possible and will just jump in fear the next time somebody says "boo".