Burke County Sheriff declares schools safe despite threat

Despite a threat made against Burke County schools last week, the county’s top law enforcement officer is telling parents he believes the schools are safe.

The sheriff’s office has been investigating an email threat against Burke County High School since Thursday. The email, from an anonymous sender, threatened to “shoot the entire school up” the next day.

Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams released a statement Sunday night reassuring parents of the safety of the county’s schools. Below is the full text of the statement.

“As the chief law enforcement officer of the county, I believe schools are safe for our students, staff, faculty and parents. We have not found any evidence that would lend any credence to the threats made on last week. We continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to keep our community safe.

“These type threats have increased across the state over the past several months. We are looking for any similarities or a particular method of operation. We have not ruled out any evidence that might suggest the person(s) responsible. 

“We are asking everyone to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious. We will have extra law enforcement personnel deployed in our schools and throughout the county to ensure the safety and security of everyone. 

“Furthermore, we are asking you to help law enforcement by talking to your children about goings-on around the country and our state related to school safety, threats and appropriate responses. Please review safety protocols with them and explain the necessity of reporting suspicious behavior and reporting to a responsible adult any threats to the learning environment.

“It is important that parents talk with their children about the proper use of social media and technology inside and outside of school. Parents can further help law enforcement by checking book bags and backpacks, maintaining an open dialogue with children, school personnel and law enforcement.”