RAEFORD, N.C. — Students waited in long lines to go inside West Hoke Middle School Tuesday morning.
As they entered the building, their bags were searched and officers used handheld security wands.
New security measures are in place after a teacher found a hit list titled "people to die Tuesday."
Officials said the note mentioned three teachers and 17 students by name.
"Anytime there's an incident, whether you know whether it's fake or not, I think you have to take it seriously," said Tina Miller of Hoke County Schools.
Some parents kept their children home from school because of the threat, while others assumed it was just a prank. Either way, the school was on lockdown -- students needed escorts to leave class and extra deputies patrolled the halls.
Investigators are not sure who wrote the hit list, but plan to compare handwriting samples. They say they have narrowed it down to five people.
Hoke County school leaders said if a student is identified, he or she will be expelled.
Extra security will remain in place when students return from their holiday break on Monday.